Thu - 23.11.2017

A new Sunday tabloid to replace the News of the World?

A new Sunday tabloid to replace the News of the World?

You want to do what now?! Crazy as the proposition might seem, The Guardian reports today that former Sunday Express editor Sue Douglas and former ITV executive Rupert Howell have been discussing the idea of launching a new Sunday tabloid, which would emulate the now defunct News of the World.

The paper suggests that the pair have approached potential investors with a total wealth of around £300 million, including Brian Kennedy, the millionaire owner of Sale Sharks rugby club.

The Guardian quotes Douglas, who says that the new Sunday tabloid “would be a reincarnation of the News of the World.” She describes the proposed publication, which would compete with News International’s newly launched Sun on Sunday, as “mischievous, punctuating pomposity, exposing hypocrisy with a smile. We have gathered quite a lot of momentum and funding."

In fact, according to an unnamed source in The Guardian, Douglas and Howell would like to go further than launching a paper, and create a whole new media brand, which would include print, digital, TV and radio offerings.

The Guardian suggests that Douglas began pursuing the project last summer when the News of The World was closed. The paper writes that she originally approached Rupert Murdoch with the idea of taking over the title of the News of the World, but was rejected. Since then, writes The Guardian, Douglas’ company has been “biding its time, waiting to see the impact of the Sun's Sunday launch on 26 February, before evaluating if the business plan is viable.”

If the business does go ahead, there’s no doubt it will face a tough challenge, as newspaper readership continues to decline. As The Guardian made clear last year, the News of the World saw a steady drop in its readership before its closure. The paper also reported in January that although other Sunday tabloids saw their readership go up after the News of the World was closed, circulation figures suggested that by the end of 2011, 50 percent of the News of the World’s former readers had given up buying a Sunday tabloid. When the Sun on Sunday was launched in February it claimed an initial circulation of more than 3 million. However, according to The Guardian, this number is now estimated to have dropped to around 2.2 million. In this context, the launch has provoked some scepticism. Charlie Beckett, founding director of POLIS, a journalism think-tank at the LSE, tweeted on the subject, “launch a new paper? I confess I don't quite see the business case for this.”

What’s more, any Sunday newspaper openly trying to copy the News of the World won’t just have to face financial challenges: PR may be a problem too. The on-going Leveson Inquiry, and James Murdoch’s recent resignation as chairman of News International have kept the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World firmly on the press’s agenda. What’s more, the fallout seems to be escalating today, as the BBC reports that the British lawyer Mark Lewis has announced that he will be taking legal action against News International on behalf of three alleged phone-hacking victims in US courts.

Sources: The Guardian (1) (2), BBC,, sfnblog (1) (2) (3)


Hannah Vinter


2012-04-12 17:41

Shaping the Future of the News Publishing

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