The Sun on Sunday will hit the newsstands this Sunday
News International’s new tabloid the Sun on Sunday will be launched this week – catching the newspaper industry by surprise.
The news broke in an “exclusive” splash on page one of the first edition of today’s Sun.
The Sun’s editor Dominic Mohan, who will edit the new Sunday tabloid, said: "This is a truly historic moment in newspaper publishing and I am proud to be part of it.
“The Sun's future can now be reshaped as a unique seven-day proposition in both print and digital. Our readers' reaction to the announcement of a seventh-day Sun has been huge and we won't let them down."
The Sun’s news story said: “Rupert Murdoch announced last week that The Sun on Sunday would be coming ‘very soon’. Now that momentous new dawn is here.
“From today your favourite paper will be available seven days a week, making every day a Sun day.
“Forty-three years ago when Rupert Murdoch first launched a new-look Sun, we promised that YOU, our readers, would be at the heart of all we do.
“Giving our readers what they want has remained our mantra — and that is why you have made us the most popular paper in the English language.
“Now we are answering your clamour for a Sunday edition of the nation's favourite paper.
“You told us it could not come soon enough, and next weekend the historic new edition of The Sun will rise.
“Back in our very first issue on November 17, 1969, we promised to be a ‘young, new, virile, campaigning newspaper’.
“That is exactly what the Sun on Sunday will be too.
“Just as we promised when The Sun first rose in 1969, the new edition will not be produced for pundits or for politicians, of whatever shade. It will be produced for you.
“It is news, we are sure, that will thrill you, our loyal army of readers.”
News International shut down its Sunday paper, the News of the World, last August amid the scandal over phone hacking.
It has left a gap in the Sunday market but it unclear how much demand there is for the Sun on Sunday.
David Wooding, former political editor of the News of the World, who will be political editor of the new Sunday, said "It caught me by surprise. Mr Murdoch came round the editorial floor on Friday and said he was launching it very soon.
"We heard rumours of a date in April. This evening, astonishingly, we are told it's going to happen next week."
He added: "We don't even know what the staffing levels will be at this stage. I’m told there will be extra staff taken on but this is not the News of the World in another guise, this is The Sun publishing on another day."
Wooding said rivals would be ''quaking in their boots”, pointing out:”The only people who don't want this new paper are the sort of people who didn't buy it anyway."
Early today Wooding appeared to be acting as an unofficial spokesman for News International - being quoted live on BBC News, Sky News and BBC Radio Five Live.
Speaking to BBC News, media commentator Steve Hewlett said: "Some of the plans have been in place for some time. If you are going to do it, you might as well just do it."