The first thing I noticed this morning at my newsagent in Melbourne’s leafy eastern suburbs is that the pile of Herald-Suns is twice as high as the pile of The Age. So the first comparison is easy.
Even in this relatively affluent suburb, the newsagent expects to sell more Herald-Suns than copies of The Age.
The second comparison is also easy and perhaps explains the first: the Herald-Sun is $1.20 and The Age is $2.00. Price-conscious newspaper buyers will probably prefer the cheaper product.
The canny Herald-Sun buyer also gets more bang for their buck-twenty. The Murdoch ‘tabloid’ has 80 pages and the Fairfax Media ‘compact’ has 72, plus a 16 page insert that is numbered differently.
But how do you tell a tabloid from a compact? It’s not that easy because technically they are the same size: 30X40 centimetres.
Perhaps it’s in the layout and use of colour on the front page.
The Age has retained its signature royal blue, but the masthead is superimposed reverse in white on blue. The Herald-Sun uses a verdant green and a superimpose/reverse white, but it’s masthead block is deeper coming 14 centimetres down the page. The Age masthead is a shallow nine centimetres.
The Herald-Sun also uses its masthead to promote a “Superstar Footy DVD” give-away and incorporates action pics of two AFL stars who I don’t recognize, but who I’m sure would be very familiar to Aussie Rules fans.
As you would expect the Herald-Sun has a brighter more ‘tabloid’ front page with a bold headline in four centimeter solid capital letters: “SECRET TAPES BOMBSHELL” . Over the top of that is a white-on-red banner also in heavy caps: “POLICE CRISIS ROCKS GOVERNMENT”. Just below the headline is a series of three ‘pointers’ also in block caps: “KEY STAFFER PAID $22,500”; “JOB HELP AT ODDS WITH PREMIER”; “BAILLIEU ADVISTER SLAMS DEJPUTY PREMIER”.
The kicker is that readers are invited to “Now listen to the recordings heraldsun.com.au”
The copy itself, across five columns is about 350 words and the story is continued across four pages (4-7) inside.
At the bottom of the page there’s three ‘skybox’ promos for contents inside the paper. This is a great tabloid front page and if you were buying the paper on its shelf-appeal, you would probably go for The Herald-Sun.
By contrast The Age seems dull, if worthy. Read the rest of this entry »