Poll reveals extent of damage for surviving Murdoch titles

Exclusive research carried out for Press Gazette has revealed the extent to which the surviving News International newspapers have been damaged by the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

The Press Gazette/ID Factor poll found 13 per cent of members of the public said they are less likely to buy The Sun as a result of the hacking scandal versus 74 per cent who said they wouldn’t be and 12 per cent don’t knows.

For The Times, 13 per cent said they would be less likely to buy it in the light of the affair, versus 65 per cent who said they wouldn’t. Some 15 per cent said they were less likely to buy the Sunday Times versus 67 per cent who said they wouldn’t be.

The ID Factor questioned a weighted online panel of 1024 members of the public between Friday and Sunday, so the responses may have been influenced by the full-page adverts News International placed in all the national newspapers over the course of the weekend apologising for the phone-hacking scandal.

The survey results also suggest that the Mail on Sunday and the Sunday Mirror will both benefit equally from the closure of the News of the World (provided that News International does not launch a Sunday edition of The Sun).

Some 49 per cent of those who described themselves as being News of the World readers said they will buy another newspaper: one third of those said they would buy the Mail on Sunday and one third said they would buy the Sunday Mirror. Some 19 per cent said they would buy The People.

If these survey findings are borne out, the Mail on Sunday and the Sunday Mirror stand to pick up more than 400,000 extra copies each. Before it closed the News of the World was the best-selling Sunday newspaper by some margin selling 2.6m copies a week.

One fifth of those who described themselves as News of the World readers said they would buy one less Sunday newspaper as a result of its closure and 13 per cent said they would no longer buy a Sunday newspaper at all.

The ID Factor also asked its panel whether the phone-hacking scandal has made them less likely to buy a newspaper in general. Some 21 per cent of respondents said they would be less likely to buy a paper, 71 per cent said they wouldn’t be and eight per cent said they didn’t know.

Today, News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch and his son James – the company’s Europe and Asia chief executive – face MPs on the Commons Media and Sport Select Committee to answer questions about the hacking scandal. News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, who resigned on Friday and was arrested by police yesterday in connection with the affair, will also face questions from the committee this afternoon.

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