|Political alignment||Centre (officially Centre-right)|
The Sunday Times is a Sunday broadsheet newspaper, distributed in the United Kingdom. The Sunday Times is published by Times Newspapers Ltd, a subsidiary of News International, which is in turn owned by News Corporation. Times Newspapers also owns The Times, but the two papers were founded independently and came under common ownership only in 1966. Rupert Murdoch's News International acquired the papers in 1981. Each year the Sunday Times publishes a Rich List — which boosts sales.
While its sister paper, The Times, holds a substantially smaller circulation than the largest-circulation UK quality daily,The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times occupies a dominant position in the quality Sunday market; its 1.3m circulation equals The Sunday Telegraph, The Observer and The Independent on Sunday combined. It maintains the larger broadsheet format and has said that it will continue to do so.
Its price increase to £2 from £1.80 in September 2006, the second price rise in two years, has started to cause a slight month-on-month and year-on-year decline in its readership. This has been following a general decline in readership of all Sunday newspapers. To combat this rivals such as The Independent on Sunday relaunched in June 2007 with a more concise approach to its content and sections, while the The Observer has relaunched in a Berliner format with colour throughout all sections.
The launch of new News International printers in mid-2008 has allowed for full colour throughout all pages. The business section's annual Reel Britannia feature, where Hollywood executives vote on the most significant Britons currently working in Hollywood, has extended its editorial reach across North America.
The paper was launched as The New Observer in 1821; Observer newspaper had been founded in 1791 although the two newspapers were unrelated. It was renamed The Independent Observer and then in 1822 The Sunday Times, again without any relationship between itself and The Times.
Rachel Beer acquired the paper in 1893, and Alfred Harmsworth acquired it in 1908. By 1959 it was part of the Kemsley group of newspapers, which was acquired in that year by Lord Thomson. In 1966 Thomson also acquired The Times and formed Times Newspapers Ltd to publish the two papers.
Rupert Murdoch's News International acquired the Times titles in 1981, but the Conservative government never referred the purchase to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, mainly because the previous owners, The Thomson Corporation, had threatened to close the papers down if they were not taken over by someone else within an allotted time, and it was feared that any legal delay to Murdoch's takeover might lead to the two titles' demise. This was despite the fact that the takeover gave Murdoch the control of four national newspapers; The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun and the News of the World. News Corp also owns the Fox Network. News International is the majority shareholder of BSkyB and James Murdoch is CEO.
Control by News Corporation ended the editorial reign of Harold Evans, bringing to a close a period in the paper's history when it was a leading campaigning, investigative and liberal-leaning newspaper. Under Andrew Neil's editorship in the 1980s and early 1990s, The Sunday Times took a strongly Thatcherite and Wienerite slant, and became particularly strongly associated with the view that anti-commercialism among those who traditionally voted for the Conservative Party had actually worked alongside traditional socialism in undermining the UK's economic competitiveness. In this area it strongly opposed the traditional conservatism expounded by Peregrine Worsthorne at the rival Sunday Telegraph.
It published the faked Hitler Diaries (1983), believing them to be genuine. Other notable stories include:
The Sunday Times publishes The Sunday Times Rich List, an annual survey of the wealthiest people in Britain and Ireland, equivalent to the Forbes 400 list in the USA, and a series of league tables with reviews of private British companies, in particular the Sunday Times Fast Track 100. The paper also publishes an annual league table of British universities and a similar one for Irish universities. It also publishes the Sunday Times Bestseller List of bestselling books in Britain. The Sunday Times also publishes a list on the 100 best UK-based companies to work for.
During the 1990s the paper developed a separate version for the Republic of Ireland. A Dublin office was opened in 1993, run by Alan Ruddock and John Burns. Originally the Irish edition extended to little more than a small number of news stories, some columnists such as Eoghan Harris, and the inclusion of Irish cinema listings and schedules for RTÉ One and RTÉ Two in theCulture section of the paper; but by 2005, a separate printing plant, journalistic offices, and many Irish journalists including Liam Fay, Richard Oakley, Mark Tighe and Colin Coyle who write solely for the Irish edition have led to most of the main news section as well as all other sections being editionalised for Ireland.
The Irish edition of The Sunday Times is not linked to The Irish Times newspaper, which is published Monday to Saturday in Dublin.
The Irish issue sells about 140,000 copies per week across the paper's entire circulation area, which includes a separate edition for Northern Ireland. The current Irish editor is Frank Fitzgibbon, a founder of the Sunday Business Post.
The paper also runs a Scottish edition. The majority of the articles are the same as the English edition, though the paper does run several stories from Scotland and its headline front page story is normally a Scottish story. The paper also gives Scottish TV schedules and cinema listings as well as having Scottish writers for its opinion section and a magazine for Scotland called Ecosse.