In a presentation to media agencies yesterday, senior executives from the Sunday paper unveiled its biggest-ever reward scheme with major high-street retailers, and offered a powerful proposition to advertisers.
The Sunday paper's contribution to the group's weekly ad revenues has fallen in recent years, from generating about a third of all print revenues for the Mail five years ago, to around 28% today, prompting a renewed focus on its positioning.
Marcus Rich, managing director of the Mail on Sunday, stressed how Sundays had become "more precious than ever", has more rituals, and is the day when people spend the most time at home.
He said that most peoples' lives were dominated by work-oriented things during the weekday and that Saturdays were becoming just as "task-orientated", as people caught up on the activities they had been unable to complete in the week.
Rich said: "Saturdays are the new weekday. The mood of a reader on a Sunday is different and unique. They receive and react to communication in a very different way to Monday and Saturday."
Drawing on IPA's Touchpoints research tool, Rich noted that 9.58am on Sunday morning is "definitively the time of the week when you are in your single best mood".
The first thing people do with that precious time, Rich said, is invite media in and MoS is ideally positioned to allow advertisers to benefit from that.
While Sunday television is dominated by time-shifted viewing, which is no good to advertisers, and less travelling dampened the impact of outdoor and freesheets, readership of newspapers is greater than on any other day of the week.
Newspapers were said to be read for 31 minutes longer than on a weekday, to total 79 minutes in all.
We invite our media in on a Sunday, rather than it intruding
Internet use at home in minutes
National broadband penetration and rising ecommerce was singled out as a trend that had strengthened the position of the paper. Sunday evening has far greater use of the internet than any other day of the week, and 47% of the paper’s readers were found to research products online.
Rich said part of the purchasing process is the online research that can be kick-started by the paper. He claims that 43% of MoS readers keep articles and 26% keep ads for reference.
He pointed to "a growing new media dynamic" between reading in the morning and searching on a Sunday evening. "The newspaper is the start of the journey: shop, browse, search, transact."
The Mail on Sunday's print circulation is the second-largest in the UK, averaging 1,944,724 in April. It is also among the most resilient amidst declining copy sales , losing 3.4% readers in the last year. This compares with annual circulation slides of 12.2% for The Observer, 8.8% for the Sunday Times, 6.5% for The Sunday Telegraph and 3.2% for the Independent on Sunday.
Rich told the room of media planners: "The combination of the Sunday mood, the first thing we do is invite media in, and spend more time reading the paper then use the content for reference when we’re shopping or talking to people, means that the Sunday paper is the most important part of a journey towards a transaction."
A Sunday advert does not just drive action on a Sunday… (Top 4 High Street Bank)