Leader Is the demise of Sunday newspapers on the horizon?
A view from Steve Barrett

Leader Is the demise of Sunday newspapers on the horizon?

The cultural landscape of the UK has changed beyond recognition in the past 25 years - as have the media that reflect and accompany that landscape.

Think back to a time before personal computers, unrestricted Sunday opening hours, pay television and 24-hour news. Our lives were very different back then. The traditional "day of rest" has never been more of a misnomer.

Visit a supermarket on a Sunday now and you will struggle to get a spot in the car park. Live football and other sports are available on tap. You can drink whenever you want. No more queuing outside the pub at five to 12 desperate to squeeze the most into your two hours of Sunday lunchtime drinking. The streets of our towns and cities teem with people seven days a week. Add that to the obsession with keeping fit, and its rise in gym membership, and the fact that people are constantly connected to work through e-mail and mobile devices.

At Media Week, we tread a thin line between being swayed by the digital evangelists who claim the internet will destroy all traditional media - we have Colin Grimshaw to put them back in their box - and believing the hype punted by each of the 42 trade bodies producing research bigging up "their" media as the most effective format to promote a brand.

They can't all be right. And it's difficult to remain upbeat about newspapers in light of the endless gloom of the monthly ABC figures and media commentators such as Roy Greenslade predicting that Sunday red-tops will be extinct within a decade (Analysis, page 17).

So is there still a place for a long, leisurely Sunday newspaper read? I love papers - always have done - especially Sunday newspapers. But I have to say that, increasingly, I find myself looking guiltily at the unread magazines and supplements on my coffee table late into the week, knowing another pile will join them shortly.

Jens Torpe and his team at City AM have shown that daily readers still want papers if you give them what they want, when they want it, in an easily digestible format (Profile, page 14).

The Sindy may have gone for a new streamlined edition because of economic imperatives, but perhaps this is the way Sundays have to go if they are to engage busy weekend readers, prove Mr Greenslade wrong and arrest their "unstoppable decline" into oblivion.

Steve Barrett is editor of Media Week