News International has finally decided against introducing usage fees for The Sun’s website and is performing a restructure to place more emphasis on advertising sales, paidContent understands.
The Sun will introduce a paid mobile content app imminently; it is currently consulting with readers on the appropriate fee. But it will not be following Rupert Murdoch’s edict in which he appeared to say that all his news titles’ websites should charge.
The final decision is understood to have been made by new News International CEO Tom Mockridge, who recently replaced Rebekah Brooks.
Although Murdoch issued his pronouncement at the height of the advertising crash in 2009, the wind from Britain’s highest-selling paper has been blowing in the opposite direction. The Sun’s advertising fortunes have recently bounced back, with big brands stumping up growing amounts both in print and online.
paidContent understands News International Commercial, which stretches across both The Sun and Times Newspapers, is currently undergoing a restructure to focus less on strategy and more on ad sales.
This could see the number of commercial directors reduced from seven to three.
Even by mid-2010, Sun ad income was nearly a quarter healthier than when Murdoch made his statement. He called it “almost inexplicably good advertising”. The Sun’s ad bounceback is outstripping its stablemate The Times’.
Mass-market The Sun enjoys a market-leading 2.7 million average daily print circulation (source: ABC) but had half as many unique monthly users as Mail Online last time Sun Online disclosed audience figures in February 2010 (source: ABC).
The Sun already publishes a paid iPad edition.