Firstly, the good news. News Of The World had 2.5million readers who, when demographically profiled, are most similar in terms of age, sex, and class to readers of the Sunday Mirror, followed by the Mail On Sunday. When deprived of their Sunday paper of choice, some will certainly do without. Most probably won’t.
Where they will migrate to is, of course, the big question. Given profiling, the two above are likeliest. We know already that Mail on Sunday are launching a big direct marketing initiative to woo those readers. It will be interesting to see if the look, feel and tone of Mail on Sunday changes this week, in an effort to make News of the World readers feel at home. The Sunday Mirror is already quite similar. The best news is that, on the assumption that your agency has annual agreed fixed pricing on a SCC basis with both sales-houses (and the vast majority will) then those new readers will come free. NRS (in terms of readership) won’t report on the new scenario until the last quarter of the year, though we should see some effect in the July and August ABC circulation figures.
So, dependent upon what position a brand is in, the advice would be:
- If you have a schedule that included News of the World, Mail on Sunday and the Sunday Mirror, don’t panic. You will spend less, and pick up all the available readers free. If possible, look at radio to regain the lost reach and immediacy of message.
- If you have a schedule that included News of the World, but not the others, then testing is crucial. If it is not a DR-based campaign, the answer will probably lie in the Sunday Mirror because of its similarity of style. Mail on Sunday is much the more expensive answer in terms of capital cost, but does give more reach. If short-term reach is critical, again look at radio.
- For DR, you will need to re-examine your press optimisation immediately. Mail on Sunday and Sunday Mirror, if they were inefficient, may start to pay their way. Test!
Simon Cross is UK practice leader of Media at Ebiquity