Murdoch’s new Sun on Sunday rolls off presses

Murdoch’s new Sun on Sunday rolls off presses
# 26 February 2012 01:10 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Rupert Murdoch’s Sun on Sunday tabloid rolled off the presses for the first time, with the tycoon saying he wanted the paper replacing the scandal-hit News of the World to sell over two million copies, APA reports quoting website.

The 80-year-old personally attended a printworks in Hertfordshire, north of London, on Saturday night to oversee the production of what he hopes will be the most-read weekly newspaper in Britain.

The front page featured an interview with Amanda Holden, a British television personality who came near death after the birth of her daughter, with the headline: "My heart stopped for 40 seconds."

The paper stuck largely to the daily paper’s format, keeping the usual large red masthead saying "The Sun" and just adding a small yellow sun and the word "Sunday" beneath it to show that is the weekly edition.

It also features new columnists such as Michelin-starred chef Heston Blumenthal, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, the second-highest ranking cleric in the Church of England, and former glamour model Katie Price, also known as Jordan.

The new paper is being sold at a knockdown price of 50 pence ($0.80, 0.60 euro cents) in a move that has already sparked a price war with some of Murdoch’s rivals.

He wrote on the microblogging-site Twitter on Friday: "Great speculation, sweeps, etc on Sunday’s sale. I will be very happy at anything substantially over two million!"

British media reported that three million copies of the new paper were being printed.

Murdoch flew into Britain on February 16 to take charge of a crisis at The Sun after several senior journalists were arrested over allegations of bribery involving public officials.

The following day he visited The Sun’s offices in London to announce the surprise launch of a seventh-day Sun, just seven months after the News of the World was closed by a scandal over the hacking of mobile phone voicemails.

The bold move was an apparent attempt to both wrongfoot critics and staff reportedly angry that his US-based News Corporation media empire had given police the information that led to some of the arrests.

It has also been seen as a way of reassuring News Corp. shareholders in the United States that the firm is trying to move on from the News of the World scandal.

Two million sales would make the new edition comfortably the most-read weekly newspaper in Britain, topping the 1.9 million circulation of The Mail on Sunday.

Murdoch has also announced that the Sun on Sunday is "completely sold out for advertising" and said its 50 pence cover price was "great news for readers and the economy".

However, sales of 2.75 million are needed to match the daily edition of The Sun’s average circulation and the sort of sales figures achieved by the News of the World.

Its "red-top" rival the Daily Star Sunday cut its price to 30p while it is also likely to spark a price war with other papers including the Sunday Mirror and The People, which have all gained readers since the News of the World’s closure.

The News of the World’s June 2011 average sales were 2.67 million and while half of those readers have drifted off to other papers, 1.3 million have simply vanished from the market altogether, industry figures show.

Military chiefs have ordered thousands of copies of The Sun on Sunday to be flown to British troops serving in Afghanistan and the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, the paper said.

"In Britain and the world’s hot spots, every day is now a Sun day," the paper said.

Australian-born Murdoch, who is now a US citizen, bought the Sun in 1969 and was pictured reading one of the first copies after he purchased it back then too.

He revolutionised Britain’s newspaper industry in the 1980s by taking his papers to digital printing in defiance of the trade unions then launched a price war in the 1990s that rival papers struggled to keep up with.with