Associated’s Sunday tabloid could be based on the Mail Online website

Media Week had the story last week that DMGT’s Associated Newspapers was working on a Sunday tabloid to step in to the vacuum left by the closure of the News of the World.

Rumours now emerge that this red top newspaper could be based on the Daily Mail’s s hugely popular, celebrity centric, Mail Online website, which bears only a passing resemblance to its print sister.

In April the Mail Online passed the Huffington Post to become the world’s second biggest website.

The site, sometimes joking referred to as the Kim Kardashian Online – with two stories on is homepage today a nod to its success in the the US where in April it launched a US office.

A report on a US blog says that “a team has been working around the clock in a closed room at Associated Newspapers Kensington headquarters “on a dummy based on their enormously popular website (50 million worldwide unique users can’t be wrong…). There were even whispers of a test run for the paper this weekend”.

Former Sun editor, and latterly columnist, Kelvin MacKenzie, is also said to be involved although in what capacity or how closely he is involved is unclear.

Mackenzie parted company with News International in June to become a columnist at the Daily Mail.

The SJA blog says “the working title is, simply, Sunday. I understand mastheads considered included World On Sunday and Sunday Life“.

That chimes with Media Week’s story last Friday. It said that Associated executives have held discussions as the best way to capture NotW readers and that a serious proposal was put forward was to launch a mass-market title and that names being considered included The Sunday and The Sunday Lite.

The latest nugget comes after Rupert Murdoch told the select committee on Tuesday that no decision had been taken on a Sun on Sunday.

Murdoch said options were open, but that there were no immediate plans to launch the paper. That put paid to recent reports of an August 7 launch for the Sun on Sunday.

It now seems likely that News International will not launch the Sun on Sunday until the storm has subsided, but when it does it will come with all guns blazing and use the power of the Sun to do it.

The Sun’s relationship with its readers will remain crucial. The paper appears unaffected in terms of circulation by the scandal. That could be incredibly important when the time comes for the Sun on Sunday to roll off of the presses.

As I said before, I’m convinced it will be a success.

The news of the delay to the News of the World replacement is obviously good news for any Mail title, which could launch into the market ahead of a News International Sun on Sunday title.

However, it will have to battle the the established red tops including Trinity Mirror’s Sunday Mirror and The People.

Trinity Mirror has is price-discounting both national Sunday titles, from £1 to 50p. The publisher is also set to air TV ads this weekend, as it looks to lock in the circulation increase it witnessed last weekend nearly doubling the Sunday Mirror.

Richard Demond’s titles, the Sunday Express and Star on Sunday, are also gunning for News of the World readers and have ramped up their print runs accordingly.