Former News International exec warns over Sun on Sunday circulation hopes

With speculation mounting that News International will quickly re-enter the Sunday tabloid market with the Sun on Sunday, a former News International exec has warned a new product will struggle to replace the News of the World.

Jack Irvine: new product will struggle to replace NOTW
Jack Irvine: new product will struggle to replace NOTW

The brand name 'Sun on Sunday' has reportedly been registered this week along with the domain name thesunonsunday.co.uk.

Following its closure of the News of the World, News International has refused to confirm The Sun is moving to seven days a week. James Murdoch, asked by Sky News was there to be a Sun on Sunday, said: ‘Decisions about the future are for next week or for the week after.’

Jack Irvine, Media House executive chairman and former News International Scotland’s MD and editor of The Scottish Sun, warned: ‘I can’t see how a Sunday Sun will hope to get the same circulation as the News of the World.’

PR consultant Max Clifford also sounded a word of caution about the launch of a fresh News International Sunday title.

‘All its rivals will be gunning for it,’ he said. ‘News International needs to be very careful to make it a completely new newspaper with a fresh new team that has no connections with the News of the World. Otherwise people are going to see it as a cynical ploy and won’t go near it.’

Andrew Bloch, co-founder of consumer agency Frank PR commented: 'From a financial perspective, the NotW made a very small impact on News International’s overall profits so there will be no immediate urgency to replace it from that point of view. Executives realise that to launch a replacement to the market too soon will be met with cynicism and contempt and any attempt at a new Sunday launch will have to be handled with great care.'

A new Sun on Sunday product could also be tainted by association with the News of the World, according to former NOTW sport journalist and MD of Onside Public Relations, James Fletcher.

'With the NOTW gone as of Sunday where will the public vent their fury?' he said. 'I fear the Sun, which had nothing to do with this, will cop the public anger by association. How long will be before people say well if Rebekah and Andy did it at the NOTW they must have done the same at The Sun?'

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