Independent media columnist Stephen Glover believes that it is now “practically certain” that The Sun on Sunday will be launched and that it will happen in January.
Gratifyingly for those who work at News International, Glover believes the closure of the UK’s top-selling Sunday newspaper on 12 July was in fact part of a cynical commercial master plan – rather than a knee-jerk act of commercial vandalism as some have said.
He notes that the News of the World was barely breaking-even and employed some 283 staff (and 160 journalists). According to Glover, the Sunday on Sunday will have a much smaller staff so be profitable with a circulation of a million.
According to Glover, the News of the World was “old, unloved and expensive to keep”, he adds: “The whole process has been a cynical charade”.
It is worth noting that the Sunday newspaper market has proved surprisingly resilient following the closure of the market leader. Most of the News of the World’s 2.7 million sales a week have gone to The People, Sunday Mirror, Daily Star Sunday and Mail on Sunday. The 800,000 copies which have left the market were probably mainly those who bought the News of the World as an additional second paper.
A further reason for the delay in launching a Sunday on Sunday not cited by Glover could be that it will give News International time to negotiate an exit for the vast majority of those 160 News of the World journalists. A Sun on Sunday comprising mainly News of the World staff would have added to the perception that the closure of the News of the World was just a re-branding exercise rather than a genuine act of contrition.