News of the World, Rupert Murdoch’s scandal-plagued British tabloid, will print its last issue this Sunday—and it will not be running any advertising.
In the statement in which he announced the decision to shutter the paper, James Murdoch, News Corp. deputy COO and News International chairman, said that News of the World "will run no commercial advertisements this weekend . . . any advertising space in this last edition will be donated to causes and charities that wish to expose their good works to our millions of readers.”
It's a move that appears generous and charitable, but in truth it's unlikely that News of the World would have been able to print many ads this weekend anyway.
About 40 advertisers—including Ford and Coca-Cola—had reportedly already pulled their ads from the tabloid. Meanwhile, the advertisers who were sticking by the paper are coming under heavy fire as part of a public boycott campaign. Supermarket giant Tesco, for instance, was met with scores of comments on Facebook blasting its decision to continue advertising with News of the World and expressing the intention to boycott the company.
The News of the World had been averaging a little over $1 million in advertising revenue with each issue this year, according to industry estimates. But most advertisers had decided to pull out after the events of this week, leaving only four left when the closure was announced.
So a virtual feeding frenzy has developed as rival publishers circle around the News of the World's advertisers, looking to snap up a share of the revenue that has been freed up.
"It is like ambulance chasing, calls are coming from rivals, smaller publishers, radio and outdoor—you name it," one "senior industry source" told the Guardian.