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February 27, 2012

Who won the battle of the Sunday red tops?

By Dominic Ponsford1

Sun editor Dominic Mohan revealed in a diary column for the Sunday Times that the first he knew The Sun was launching a Sunday edition was when he was called to see Rupert Murdoch exactly one week from launch day.
So to create a new paper from scratch in less than seven days was impressive.
That said, he has some work to do to  match the more polished Sunday package on offer from The Sunday Mirror and the new title nothing like the paper the old News of the World was – yet.
Here’s my verdict on yesterday’s battle of then Sunday red tops:
The Sun
Claimed sale by Rupert Murdoch:3m
News of the World final ABC: 2,667,428
The exclusive interview with Amanda Holden talking about how close she came to death following the birth of her daughter was, for me, the pick of the red top splashes. And it was possibly a statement of intent by focusing on a positive tale.
But inside there was little that you wouldn’t expect to see on any weekday edition of The Sun. That may of course, be the game-plan – gambling that Sunday nowadays is no different from any other day.
New columnists Katie Price, Dr John Sentanu and Toby Young were all pretty bland providing zero revelation. The package was saved by a 28-page football supplement and the News of the World’s professionally-produced glossy magazine supplement Fabulous.
The main book was disappointing, but given the fact it was produced in less than a week – it was an impressive achievement nonetheless. It will only improve as the weeks go on and if The Sun on Sunday stays  at 50p it will make big in-roads into The People, Star Sunday and Sunday Mirror.
The Daily Star Sunday
Current sale: 644,804
Pre News of the World closure: 305,978
It had a decent splash – based on interview with her hairdresser it claims that Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and the heir to the throne are leading separate lives. It has a new column  – Guido Fawkes –  penned by the Paul Staines and Harry Cole who are behind the blog of the same name. Guido joins regular columnists Matthew Wright and Sally Bercow
The Daily Star Sunday has most to lose from the launch of the Sunday edition of The Sun, having doubled its sale to 644,000 since the demise of the News of the World.
On this week’s performance it should keep much of that gained ground. It’s one major drawback is the lack of colour on every page, something which will be remedied soon when it moves up to Northern and Shell’s new £100m presses in Luton .
Sunday Mirror
Current sale: 1,753,202
Pre News of the World closure: 1,087,796
KERRY KATON TO WED is the splash, an exclusive which should play well in its market.
Inside the Sunday Mirror has more meat on the bone than the other Sunday titles including: an in-depth news spread headlined 12 DAYS TO SAVE THE NHS, the tale of an eight-year-old given £8,000 to spend on plastic surgery by her mum and news that Loose Women star Denise Welch is moving in with her toyboy lover.
Together with the Celebs on Sunday glossy magazine, the Homes and Holidays pull out and Sunday Mirror Football – this feels like the most substantial, polished Sunday red-top package. But owner Trinity Mirror won’t keep the price at 50p for long so it will face a battle on its hands when it has to return to a £1 because I’m sure Murdoch will keep the Sun on Sunday at 50p for some time to come.
The People
Current sale: 770,772
Pre News of the World closure: 474,549
The People led with GREAVSIE: I’VE HAD A STROKE, a big name for its ageing readership. Inside it is a much lighter showbiz-focused mix than the Sunday Mirror with a guest column from Carole Malone, formerly of the News of the World. Like The Sun on Sunday, The People is a light read and I suspect it will be hardest hit by the new launch.

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