People to become 7-day digital product under Sue Douglas

Former Sunday Express editor Sue Douglas is to lead the transformation of the Sunday People into a seven-day digital product.

Douglas will oversee a revamp of the People when she takes on her new role as publishing director of Trinity Mirror’s newly created Sunday Brands subsidiary on Monday.

Trinity Mirror chief executive Simon Fox told Press Gazette that additional editorial staff are likely to be brought in over the coming months as part of the change.

“What we are doing is using additional journalistic resource to reinvigorate Sundays and in particular the Sunday People,” he said. “There is an opportunity for the People to fill a gap in the Sunday market and that will be Sue and her team’s prime focus.”

Fox said the group was “considering a rebrand” for the title, but added that the first priority would be to move the People to a seven-day operation.

“Currently, the People is silent six days a week while the Mirror and other brands are supported by a daily paper. One of the planks of the strategy is to bring the brand to life digitally each day of the week.” He said the People would “not try to replicate a daily paper” on its website.

“By not having a daily printed product you have a freedom to do interesting things with your digital product throughout the week and then build up to a crescendo at the weekend.”

It has not yet been decided whether the People will have a new stand-alone website under the plans.

Fox also moved to scotch rumours that the five Sunday papers that form the Sunday Brands subsidiary – including Wales on Sunday, The Sunday Mail in Scotland, The Sunday Mercury in Birmingham and Newcastle’s The Sunday Sun – would be run centrally from London.

“There is no suggestion that the five brands will be centrally run together,” he said. “The reporting lines of the other four Sundays are unchanged. Their success is built on their regional strength.”

Sunday Brands will be chaired by former ITV commercial director Rupert Howell. Douglas and Howell led an investor consortium that sought to take a majority stake in the People before talks ended last month.

Fox said: “When we reached that point we thought ‘what a shame’ that the ideas we’d discussed wouldn’t see the light of day. On that basis, we continued those discussions and found another solution.”

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