News International is understood to be scrapping the News of the World’s long-standing Sunday magazine in favour of a more upmarket title that will compete with the celebrity weeklies.
The relaunched supplement has yet to be named but is expected to be introduced early next year. It is thought that NI is keen to attract advertising from more up-market brands.
The disclosure follows the appointment in July of former First, Closer and Grazier journalist Mandy Appleyard as editor of Sunday magazine. It is understood that Appleyard is working with NotW deputy editor Jane Johnson, a former editorial director at EMAP, to revitalise the red-top’s supplement.
NotW, which was launch-ed over 20 years ago, was overhauled in 2004 after a decline in circulation. The TV listing section was hived off as a new section and the main magazine was printed on higher-quality paper. The Biz was touted as a possible title (MW June 29, 2004).
The NotW has the largest circulation across the Sunday newspapers market at nearly 3,300,000 according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC). Media buyers believe it is undermined by the supplement.
They have slated the magazine for its “poor quality” and “lack of depth”. MediaCom group press director Claudine Collins says: “The magazine could be better. It has huge readership but needs to be more celebrity focused. The only way NI will introduce different advertising is by changing the product.”
Mediaedge:cia account director Rob Lynam agrees that the magazine is “not a particularly strong product”. He adds: “It does not have the same depth as some of the women’s weeklies.”
News International dec-lined to comment.