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Friday 30 October 2015

Rebekah Brooks’ Sun Delusion

At long last, the paywall used by the Super Soaraway Currant Bun to defend its award-winning journalism - no, don’t laugh - is being almost completely dismantled, with the final deed to be done at the end of next month. The Murdoch faithful have finally realised, long after everyone else did, that the exercise was a failure, and that the Sun is so far behind the competition that its website traffic hardly registers.
How bad is the situation? The Sun is not only behind Mail Online, the Guardian, the Telegraph, and even the Express, it is now behind even freesheet Metro. It was this reality that prompted the creation of the SunNation site in the run-up to May’s General Election, although, despite all the resources and promotion thrown at it, it made so little contribution to the Sun’s pro-Tory campaign as to be effectively irrelevant.

So today the twinkle-toed yet domestically combative Rebekah Brooks has circulated an email to her singularly unfortunate staff telling them of the Brave New World that awaits them beyond the paywall. And behind the management speak is the clear sign that she is becoming utterly delusional about the reality of her situation.

I recently shared with you the future priorities for the company and am excited today to tell you more about our plans for the first of these: growing the Sun’s audience. This will mean setting the Sun predominantly free in the digital world from 30 November. By happy coincidence, this is also Cyber Monday, one of the best-performing days of the year for online retail” she tells, and to which I say big deal. Do go on.

Recent months have been filled with experimentation at the Sun. The standalone political site SunNation won plaudits at election time”. Won plaudits? I might have been tempted to say more like brickbats, but so few were looking in, and there was therefore very little feedback (see the Zelo Street take HERE and HERE). It was only in the very last days of the campaign that SunNation’s Twitter feed gained more followers than this blog’s.

Yet on wibbles Ms Brooks: “Entering this new chapter for the Sun, we are in a strong position thanks to the many learnings we bring from the paid-for era”. Like realising the “paid-for era” was a flop, perhaps? And that re-launching, when she admits many potential readers’ attention will be on buying Christmas gifts, might not be such a clever idea? But let me put Rebekah straight on the scale of her challenge.

The Guardian has amassed its reader base by embracing the Web from the word go - while the Sun was trying to frighten readers off using it. Mail Online has taken years to elbow its way to the front - and a lot of money. The Sun is now at the back of the queue, and Ms Brooks has a limited amount of time to make News UK digitally worth the candle.

How long? News Corp has only one devout backer of print media, and that is Rupert Murdoch. Rupe is a print man at heart. His sons and the rest of the board aren’t fussed one way or the other - making more money is where their heads are at. So Rebekah has until Rupe shuffles off to make it work.

Rupert Murdoch is 84 and has just started dating Jerry Hall. I don’t want to sound callous, but that combination suggests she needs to move fast. And leave her delusions behind.


Anonymous said...

Brooks would sell her arse to whoever has control.

It doesn't matter who.

The woman is entirely sans conscience, feelings or principles. She's incomplete. You only have to see that dead-to-the-world face to realise what she is.

The rest of the Murdoch boot lickers are no different. Once Creepy Rupe has shuffled off this mortal coil - and the sooner the better - they'll simply move on to the next neoNazi.

Gez Sagar said...

as this is the comment area: you only needed to look at the max 2 or 3 comments on any Tom N-D or Kavanagh online article, compared with hundreds for politics at Mailonline or Guardian.com, to see that the paywall was emasculating the Sun's primary purpose: inflencing politcs and politicians.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comments above. It's interesting that since the Telegraph put up a paywall a lot of right wingers suddenly started commenting BTL at the Guardian

Paul said...