ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL | U.K. newspaper The Independent increased circulation by 8.7 percent in the last three months by offering the same, identical newspaper in both broadsheet and tabloid formats.
The long-time broadsheet introduced a complete tabloid version of itself at the end of the September, targeting commuters in London and others who prefer the more easily flippable, compact size. The Independent claims it's the "first time in publishing history" that readers have been given a choice of formats.
I can't think of any others doing this, but I can think of many metros that should. Great idea. You've got to design your paper for how, when and where people use it. And several hundred thousand readers, obviously, don't all use it the same way. What a great way to grab more readers -- with the same content.
Ivan Fallon, the CEO of Independent News & Media, said in a release for a World Association Newspapers conference that the paper made the move to go after women, younger readers and commuters.
The tabloid edition, or the "compact" as they call it, sold 58,643 a day in December, up from 46,568 in November. (Before the launch, daily circulation of the broadsheet was about 178,000.) But despite the compact's popularity, Fallon said there are no plans to do away with the broadsheet because the company doesn’t want to lose the readers who are satisfied with it.
“If you walk into a supermarket and you want to buy a tube of Colgate toothpaste, you can get it in four different sizes," Fallon said.
While most broadsheets routinely print tab inserts, sections and special sections it may pose an operations challenge to do both on deadline if presses are near capacity. But the Independent's early numbers show this may be a problem worth solving.
Meanwhile, other papers in the U.K. are taking note. The Times of London followed suit in December, according to an article at Poynter.