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Friday 22 January 2016

So Farewell Then SunNation

Back in March last year, Rupe’s downmarket troops at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun launched a new standalone website. As the Guardian reported at the time, “SunNation.co.uk aims to be ‘loud and disruptive and influential’ as the paper during the general election campaign”. SunNation was “offering a lighthearted take on politics that readers do not have to pay to access”.
The less than totally riveting fare on offer soon passed before my inspection, and the conclusion was that SunNation was a waste of time for all concerned: “it’s low-rent Tory Party propaganda, rehashed to appeal to some mythical ideal Sun voter somewhere who has probably already made up his or her mind. No wonder it’s free to view”. But on ploughed the Murdoch faithful, to very little effect.

Several hacks were put to work full time on SunNation. This did not improve the quality of the product. The Twitter feed derived much of its following from other Murdoch journalists and even then was lagging at less than 4,500 by the end of March. In the months since then, despite all the resources thrown at it, the same Twitter following has reached the giddy heights of just under 9,000. It has been a complete flop.

This has at last been conceded by the Murdoch doggies, as the Guardian told yesterday: “The Sun drops standalone politics site … Sun Nation, launched as a ‘loud and disruptive’ force before the general election, has been absorbed into the main website now the paywall has been axed”. Clearly it was not “loud and disruptive” enough. So what kind of excuses were on offer to counter this failed waste of time and money?

The official and suitably optimistic line is “With the Sun’s online content now freely available we felt it was no longer necessary for a standalone politics site, but the same brilliant political exclusives, funnies and virals will still be available”. Sadly, though, what that does not say is that the Sun’s main website is also in trouble. Despite being made free to view, traffic has not increased as had been expected.

Last October, it was revealed that “The Sun has suffered its first fall in web traffic since moving to relax its paywall as its site saw average daily visitors fall by 14% to 1.1 million in September … News UK’s website, which decided to relax its paywall and resume official traffic measurement in July, has now slipped back behind Express.co.uk which fell by just 0.03% month on month to 1.2 million average daily visitors”.

Behind the Express? In seventh place? With a mere 12% of the Guardian’s traffic? Down 14% while the Guardian increased its figures by over 11%? And there was another fall in December, although at least the Sun managed to climb to sixth spot, behind MailOnline, Guardian, Telegraph, Mirror and Independent. All of which means that the closure of SunNation is part of a wider failure by the Murdoch empire.

It couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch. Bye bye SunNation.


Shawlrat said...

Sadness in my eyes.

Pam Smith said...

They literally can't give their online content away - another demonstration of all-conquering Murdoch's digital Achilles heel. Wonder how the Times is doing, rattling around behind its paywall?

Anonymous said...

Good riddance. It can't come soon enough too for the Heil online gang and others of the same political hue.

That kind of loony propaganda can never disappear completely of course. The corner shop paranoid mentality has to have a handy bunker somewhere.

Meantime, the beauty of press media is this: If you want to know what those crackpots are mithering up lately all you have to do is visit the local supermarket, go to the "news"paper section, scan through their version of Der Sturmer or Volkischer Beobachter (shouldn't take more than a few minutes), then put it back on the shelf. Hey presto, it stays unsold and you get to know what their latest loony diatribe is. And Murdoch and Rothermere make no profit out of you.

And if you feel it necessary to visit their websites, just turn on your adblocker. Then the click bait doesn't work either.

Deprive them of advertising dosh and profits and that should see them disappear up each other's anal canal.

rob said...

And so it's..

Goodbye to SunNation
Though I hardly read you at all
You had the nerve to set yourself
A news venture that would appall

Goodbye to SunNation
The hacks really tried to be on cue
Spewing their master's vitriol
For the benefit of Tory HQ

And it seems to me you rode your luck
Like a propaganda tool
Never wanting an impartial view
Even when the rot set in

And I would'na want to know you
Now I never will
Your message lost for evermore
Just another Murdoch shill

Anonymous said...


Somebody go and fetch the day!

Anonymous said...


Love it!

Andy McDonald said...

Murdoch really doesn't get the Internet, does he?

First of all, how many Sun readers are going to actually pay for access? Not when they can get their fill of racial tension-raisers, TV listings, cute animal funnies and porn in the terabytes, and all of it for free elsewhere. It's not the first time he's messed up though. There was buying MySpace just before Facebook went big, and the Times paywall. Not to mention Louise Mensch's new version of Twitter she tried to launch.

Anonymous said...

Just the mere thought of a Twitter set up by Louise Mensch would be just awful! And probably one-sided in her favour. God forbid...

Gweedo Fawkes said...

I'm so gutted.

I'll miss both of the Re-tweets I get for my column!

redpesto said...

"Just the mere thought of a Twitter set up by Louise Mensch would be just awful! And probably one-sided in her favour. God forbid..."

It did happen ('Menshn'). Where was God then?

Crispin Fisher said...

I'm somewhat surprised at the shear number of journalists that are employed in 'The Sun's political department. Whilst the likes of Kavanagh and MacKenzie only make the odd contribution these days there must be at least a dozen journalists knocking out political stories in a paper where political articles are pretty thin on the ground.

I can't imagine many Sun readers rush out in a morning to buy a paper to read the latest brain farts from Harry Cole or Tom Newton Dumb so what really is the point of 'The Sun's political output other than just propagating the Murdoch line to an ever decreasing readership.

Anonymous said...

They are no more entertaining than the local pub bore.

At least pub bores don't charge for their nonsense.