Magazine article Marketing

Sunday Pops Seek a Better Class of Reader: Sunday Tabloids Can No Longer Ignore Millions of Affluent Secret Readers

Magazine article Marketing

Sunday Pops Seek a Better Class of Reader: Sunday Tabloids Can No Longer Ignore Millions of Affluent Secret Readers

Article excerpt

Sunday pops seek a better class of reader

Down-market? Moi? Such was the universal cry of the popular Sunday tabloid this summer.

Both the People and the News of the World (NoW) magazine Sunday have relaunched to the jargon of moving up-market, sleaze wrapped in sensitivity and (who'd have thought it?) good journalism. The Sunday Mirror too, while not adding sections and magnifying its magazine, has sought to acquire a respectable sheen.

Why is all this going on? The oftquoted Calcutt report has no doubt caused a few qualms among purveyors of Sunday morning "between the sheets" entertainment.

But the explanations of Arc advertising's new business director, Sharon Skeggs (Marketing, September 13) may have more to do with it.

Skeggs points out that a quarter of the NoW's 13 million readers are affluent ABs who buy a quality newspaper for the coffee table and a tabloid for the hell of it. The problem is, no one really owns up to that. Hence the new ads - a couple in bed reading the relaunched Sunday magazine.

The readership of all three titles shows a similar breakdown. There are a great many wealthy people reading popular supplements but the ads don't reflect that. The old Sunday looked like a cheap supplement and media planners were undoubtedly put off, leaving NoW off schedules because it lacked the desired profile, despite its coverage.

McCann-Erickson's head of press-buying John Ferguson puts his finger on that as the key reason. News International, he says, is uncomfortably aware of the paper's unpopularity with advertisers. With that in mind, the relaunch is a little disappointing says Young and Rubicam joint media director Simon Matthews. "Media planners are much more aware of the importance of the advertising environment. A lot of the ads in the relaunch were poor, though I think they'll do better as a result."

The People relaunch seems to share the up-market fetish. It revealed the new format a week before Sunday magazine. The paper now has an added section, People Weekend, and, of course, a bigger more authoritative-looking magazine.

It clearly needed to do something. Its stablemate and nearest rival in circulation terms, the Sunday Mirror, has been consistently pulling away from it this year. …

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