Tabloid Edition Boosts Bottom Line at Britain's Independent

26 March 2004

The decision by British daily broadsheet The Independent to publish a tabloid edition has helped the paper halve its losses.

Since the title began its two-size format in September, it has reversed a long-term circulation decline, and sales are now up around 15% year-on-year. This turnaround helped cut operating losses at the paper and its Independent on Sunday sibling to £9 million ($16.2m; €13.4m) in 2003, down from £20m the year before.

In turn, these results helped lift profits at the newspapers' parent, Irish-headquartered Independent News & Media. The group, which also owns assets in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, posted a 19.8% rise in pre-tax profits (before exceptional items) to €154.6m and a 5.9% increase in turnover to €1.38 billion.

Ivan Fallon, ceo of IN&M's UK operations, described the £4m-£5m invested in the tabloid Independent as "the best money we've ever spent". He added: "With the extra revenue we are getting from circulation and some further recovery in the advertising market, my expectation is that the operating loss should halve this year. Next year we expect to see the titles return to profitability."

The tabloid is eventually expected to replace the broadsheet, and Fallon indicated this transition may occur sooner than anticipated. "The success of the compact prompts us to take a decision sooner rather than later," he said. "Nearly 75% of [Independent readers] have already opted for the compact, but we obviously don't want to chop off our remaining broadsheet readers."

Data sourced from: multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff