The Sun may be rising but are there clouds on the horizon?

Just 38% of former News of the World readers picked up the first issue of the Sun on Sunday
Just 38% of former News of the World readers picked up the first issue of the Sun on Sunday

Less than half of former News of the World readers agree that the Sun on Sunday will become their main newspaper, reveals research from Kantar Media.

The launch of the Sun on Sunday triggered fevered speculation about the future of the Sunday newspaper market.

The latest research from Kantar Media indicates that whilst the first issues of Britain’s newest newspaper recorded encouraging readership figures, sustaining readers may prove to be more of a challenge.

The new insights reveal that 12% of those polled read the first issue of the Sun on Sunday - a similar proportion of adults in Britain who read the News of the World during its final weeks.

However, just 38% of former News of the World readers picked up the first issue of the Sun on Sunday.

In the immediate aftermath of the News of the World’s closure, similar research from Kantar Media suggested that the vast majority (86%) of their readers would choose another title, rather than dropping out of the market altogether.

The evidence from Kantar Media’s latest survey indicates that many of these former NOTW readers are returning to the News International stable.

Of those who were News of the World readers but have since read the Sunday Mirror - 49% read the first issue of the Sun on Sunday.

One in three readers of the People also read the Sun on Sunday in its first week along with 26% of readers of the Daily Star on Sunday.

Although official ABC figures are yet to be released, Rupert Murdoch announced via Twitter that the first issue of the Sun on Sunday sold more than 3.2 million copies.

Subsequently he tweeted 'What will second Sunday edition of Sun sell? My guess down fifteen per cent would be a great result'.

The Kantar Media poll reveals that he may not be too far off as 85% of those who read the paper in its first outing said they will likely read again the following week.

Very early industry estimates put sales of the second issue, 17% down on its first week.

However, despite stealing a march on some of its rivals, the data suggests that the outlook for the Sun on Sunday is not wholly positive.

Almost a quarter (23%) of all Sunday newspaper readers surveyed agreed that News International’s latest offering will become their main Sunday newspaper.

This rises to almost 60% among those who read the Sun on Sunday in its first week but it may take longer, however, to win back former News of the World readers on a permanent basis.

Less than half (44%) of former News of the World readers agreed that the Sun on Sunday will become their main newspaper, almost 40% remain undecided.

This is the same proportion of former News of the World readers who also agree that 'The phone hacking scandal has made me more negative towards the Sun'.

If the Sun on Sunday is to be a long-term success beyond the high figures achieved following its launch, convincing the undecided former News of the World readers will be crucial.

It remains to be seen whether the competitive cover pricing and multiplatform advertising campaign will be enough to win-over these readers beyond the first few issues.    

Research methodology


A representative sample of 1,028 adults took part in an online survey conducted by Kantar Media between February 28th and March 1st 2012. A reader was defined as those who have read a Sunday newspaper for at least two minutes in the last four weeks. The survey data were weighted to match the profile of GB Sunday newspaper readers (Almost Always or Quite Often) as determined by NRS.

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