Herald on Sunday: Bigger, braver and better

By Bryce Johns

Good morning and welcome to a momentous week in the eight-year history of the Herald on Sunday.

Today we reveal the newlook masthead of your favourite Sunday newspaper. The masthead, which will be on the front page from next Sunday, is part of the most major upgrade of the paper since it was started.

And we can also confirm two significant milestones.

Readership figures for 2012 show that the Herald on Sunday is, for the first time, the best read Sunday newspaper in the North Island.

We have a 34,000 lead over our main rival, the Sunday Star-Times. In the key battleground of Taupo north, our lead has grown to a massive 122,000 readers.

On top of that, new circulation figures show we were the only paper in the country last year to grow sales - the third consecutive year we have managed to do so.

So why are we changing the paper significantly when the results are going so well?

Because you've told us our growth should be happening faster.

We've called in dozens of readers to give their impression of the paper, and the results are overwhelming: even those with an irregular reading pattern have said, when given a copy and asked to critique it, that it had more depth and value than they realised.

Dated perceptions about the Herald on Sunday are changing, and a paper more reflective of people's needs should allow our growth to continue.

The masthead change is significant. It brings us into line with our sister publication the New Zealand Herald, the best read paper in the country. It signals a more contemporary approach to the news.

We will have more focus on indepth features and investigations. These reads will appear much further forward in the paper. The news section becomes bigger and more compelling.

You'll find new columnists - such as Warriors owner and one of our richest men, Eric Watson, and a special new slot in our Consumer section called Buy Crikey! identifying the best retail buys of the week.

We're also expanding our most successful inserted magazine, Living. From next weekend it will include the TV listings, entertainment section and the hugely popular Spy gossip section.

That allows us to create a new magazine, Homes, to cater for those in the real estate market or wanting to read about some of the best properties that are for sale.

We'll also be launching it in style, offering readers the chance to take advantage of the skills of some of our key contributors. How would you like a party hosted by the Spy team?

Our cooking guru to prepare a meal for you and your mates on your new barbecue? Or attend a State or Origin game with one of our league experts? You'll have those opportunities.

The planning for the "new" Herald on Sunday has been under way for months. We're hugely excited and we hope you will be too. Pick it up next week and let us know what you think.

- Herald on Sunday

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