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Rupert Howell and Sue Douglas mull new Sunday tabloid contender – are they mad or really mad?

Sue Douglas, who used to be a big noise at the Sunday Times and then at Conde Nast, and Rupert Howell (left), one of the H’s in HHCL and then the boss of McCann Europe and the chief salesman at ITV, are supposed to be talking to Northern & Shell owner Richard Desmond about buying his Daily Star Sunday.

The DSS does OK with a circulation of about 600,000 (depending what the cover price is and whatever Rupert Murdoch’s doing over at News International) but is it a long term bet?

Desmond would sell if he got a good deal in cash; his new thing is Channel 5 and that’s doing fine, partly because he plugs the TV channel in his rather comical newspapers, the two Express titles and the Star throughout the week and on Sundays. He also owns Hello! rival OK!

But newspapers are fucked in the UK, and, indeed, in most other developed markets. The future is digital but it doesn’t bring in anything like as much money, as former BBC director-general Mark Thompson will rapidly discover when he takes up his duties as CEO of the New York Times.

So will Douglas’s and Howell’s initiative get off the ground?

Doubt it. But you’ve got to give them some respect for trying.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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