Content is king as .99 launches first major work for The Sunday Star Times

New Zealand’s largest national newspaper, The Sunday Star Times, has had a pretty rough time of it recently, with some fairly concerning readership and circulation results. But an editorial rejig is in process to, as Fairfax chief executive Allen Williams says, improve the newspaper and make it more appealing and authoritative, and it’s also launched a new campaign with its new agency .99 that aims to draw attention to the great content it provides every week. 

The campaign launched on 15 November during the 6pm news on TV3 and the first spot shines a light on columnists Rod Oram, Lynda Hallinan, Richard Boock and Simon Cunliffe. This is the first TVC from .99 since the agency was appointed to the Sunday Star-Times business in July this year, and it was dreamed up and produced in-house. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XUQfyfLVi0“We plan to feature other columnists in future versions, continually reminding our readers about the great content we provide,” says Nicola Igusa, Fairfax communications and marketing manager. 

As for the rejig, SST editor David Kemeys has resigned and the NZ Herald is tipping Dom Post stalwart and ex SST journo Oskar Alley for a new role as editor in chief in Auckland. The role will see the successful candidate provide ”strong and strategic leadership across two Sunday papers, our digital journalism and stable of community titles. The new editor-in-chief will head Fairfax Media’s integrated newsroom in Auckland and will have a strong mandate to drive initiatives that will lift the quality of our journalism”. 

In the latest readership and circ figures, The Sunday Star-Times, was down across the board, registering an overall decline in readership of 14 percent year on year, going from 540,000 to 466,000 readers in an average week. It also registered a 14 percent decline in circulation in the past year to 134,956. Not surprisingly, its newspaper inserted magazine Sunday followed suit, losing around 80,000 readers to reach 409,000 

According to a Fairfax release at the time, the result reflected a tough market in Christchurch, where readership fell from the high levels achieved in 2011 after the earthquakes. Population decline in Christchurch also had an impact. But, like magazines, the papers are playing up the engagement factor and Fairfax says the Sunday Star Times remains the country’s most engaging Sunday newspaper, with readers spending on average 49 minutes reading each week (The Herald on Sunday was the only paper in the country to chart an increase in both readership and circulation in the latest round of figures). 

“In the past three months we have begun a project that enables our journalists from throughout the country to contribute to the Sunday Star Times,” says Williams. “In particular The Press in Christchurch and The Dominion Post in Wellington are now providing some of their best stories for our Sunday readers. We’re also committed to bringing new features and innovations to life in the paper, as seen with the September launch ofLink+, which brings the printed page to life via our free Stuff app.”


Executive Creative Director/CEO: Craig Whitehead 

Managing Partner – Client Service: Jarad O’Hara

Account Executive: Jane King

Creatives: Mark Easterbrook, Dom Antelme, Craig Murray

Animation Director: Craig Murray

Head of TV & Motion Graphics: Vicki O’Leary

Production, Post & Audio: .99

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