Sunday Mirror looks to fill News of the World void

Since the closure of the News of the World, the Sunday Mirror has been attracting new readers in their thousands.

Feature in Sunday Mirror
Feature in Sunday Mirror

The first weekend after the NotW's closure, the Trinity Mirror title sold about 1.9 million copies, a boost of 140,000 copies week on week. The second weekend it sold more than two million copies for the first time in 11 years.

Like other Sunday newspapers, the Sunday Mirror ran promotions to lure former NotW readers, including featuring a money-off shopping voucher for Morrisons and slashing the cover price from £1 to 50p in some regions.

But as the price returns to normal, can the paper hang on to the new readers and if so, does it need something different from PR professionals?

The Sunday Mirror refused to allow any staff we interviewed to be named, but 'the spokesman' says the paper is not planning to make many changes.

'We offer a very full package with something for everyone and haven't changed since the News of the World ceased publication,' he says. 'We've always carried showbiz stories - no more or less since the News of the World closure - but also have a tradition of fighting for the issues that are of importance to our readers.

'We have campaigned for our servicemen and women to receive better treatment, and fought for greater care and respect for our elderly and vulnerable. These values are at the paper's core and perhaps set it apart from News of the World.'

Showbiz is still a key part of the paper's coverage, though, and the glossy Celebs magazine is a big draw for PROs.

'We work closely with agents, PROs and advertisers and they know the impact the magazine has,' says the Sunday Mirror spokesman.

'In essence, it's about getting the mix and the package right, which we think we do.'

Justin Jeffreys, account director at Taylor Herring, says the closure of the News of the World is 'absolutely a massive opportunity for the Sunday Mirror. It's the newspaper you think of to fill the void.'

However, he says the paper is right not to make too many changes. 'It needs to make sure it does not alienate the readers it already has,' says Jeffreys.

Kate Wild, MD of Wild Card PR, agrees the paper needs to find a balance. 'The Sunday Mirror must provide engaging, relevant content to hold the attention of new readers, as well as continuing to appeal to existing ones,' she says.

'The Homes & Holidays supplement is great for certain clients and seems to appeal to a responsive audience; a particular client of ours reported a significant uplift in bookings after a double-page feature.'

However, Jack Irvine, executive chairman of Media House and former editor of the Scottish Sun, says the Sunday Mirror needs to make some big changes to capitalise on the News of the World's closure.

'It will benefit in the short term but it must raise its game to hold on to any sales it gains,' he says, arguing that the paper needs stronger stories.

 

A MINUTE WITH ... THE SUNDAY MIRROR EDITORIAL TEAM

Tina Weaver

What opportunities are there for PROs to secure coverage?

The paper, edited by Tina Weaver (picture above), receives hundreds of PR requests each week, so ideas need to be focused, clever and offer something that the readers will want to know about.

We do cover a lot of consumer issues, whether it is grocery prices or change in lifestyle habits, in which our readers are genuinely interested.

Who are your readers?

The latest readership data, taken from the NRS April 2010-March 2011, shows the audience is split 51:49 between men and women. The average age is 46, although the early signs are that we are attracting a slightly younger audience since the News of the World closure. Currently, six in ten are from white collar or skilled blue collar households (those that make the workplace tick, not the middle/senior management), although we are proud to have the highest proportion of ABC1s (white collar, including the management) of any Sunday red top (43 per cent). A third live in the North, one in seven in the Midlands and four in ten reside in the South.

What are the deadlines?

Celebs goes to press ten days before it appears in the paper. The best way to get in touch is by emailing scoops@sundaymirror.co.uk.

 

Sunday Mirror

 

QUICK FACTS
Circulation: 1,088,000 (latest ABC figure: June 2011)
Frequency: Weekly
Publisher: Mirror Group Newspapers
Website: mirror.co.uk/sunday-mirror
Unique users: 14,708,075 (ABCe June 2011)
Contact: Editor - Tina Weaver
scoops@sundaymirror.co.uk.

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