Murdoch gambles on The Sun on Sunday

Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun tabloid will launch a Sunday edition on Feb. 26, and some are calling it the media baron’s “last hurrah.” Others are calling the move unwise, as the UK’s print newspaper business is declining and News International is still dealing with the phone hacking scandal that broke last year.

News International CEO Tom Mockridge said in a statement that the company “has made clear its determination to sort out what has gone wrong in the past and we are fundamentally changing how we operate as a business,” Variety reported.

When it comes down to it, Murdoch has two options: “cut ties and sell up or gamble on a fightback. True to form he chose the latter,” Financial Times digital product manager Alexander Walters opined in the Huffington Post.

“The challenge Murdoch now faces is twofold. In order to save his British operation he must reassure Sun staff and guide the paper through its current crisis without losing any of the advertisers that have so far stayed loyal. He must also make the Sun on Sunday a commercial and critical success. Only by achieving both of these feats will he placate News Corporation, an organization that sees print as minor indulgence in a digital media age.”

Roy Greenslade, who once worked as an assistant editor on the Sun, called Murdoch a “buccaneer,” who surprised the competition by announcing the new edition.

“The wily old media tycoon has a habit of being at his best when he is at bay,” Greenslade stated. “This astonishing initiative is all about one angry man, having suffered a setback that looked as if it might end in him sacrificing his British media interests, striking back to save his empire. It’s personal, not corporate. He wants to show his staff, the politicians, the rest of Fleet Street, the readers, News Corp’s investors – indeed, the world – that he will not go quietly.”

Murdoch will be in London to supervise the launch.

“Our duty is to expand one of the world’s most widely read newspapers and reach even more people than ever before,” Murdoch said, according to The Telegraph. “Having a winning paper is the best answer to our critics.”

This entry was posted in Launches, News Corp., News International, print, Sunday newspaper. Bookmark the permalink.

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