The editor of UK national broadsheet The Times will consider publishing a tabloid version if the two-size option offered by rival The Independent proves a success.
This week, the lossmaking Independent – part of Sir Anthony O'Reilly's Independent News & Media empire – became the first newspaper in the world to offer both formats simultaneously when it launched a tabloid version in the Greater London area [WAMN: 26-Sep-03]. The smaller edition is designed to appeal to commuters who have difficulty reading broadsheets on cramped public transport.
Should the strategy succeed, Times editor Robert Thomson would consider a similar move for his own paper, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.
"Probably every broadsheet in Britain has tabloid dummies in the top drawer and that would be true of the Times," Thomson declared. "The question of commercial convenience, the question of how the market has changed and how best to take advantage of that – these are serious and current issues and it would be foolish to rule out that kind of response."
Thomson also expressed disappointment that the Independent's offering did not go further. "In format terms it's a shame they haven't experimented more," he continued. "What they've done is to boil down the sheep - it's a tallow tabloid - rather than taking a more ambitious approach and thinking about how you can bring the values of a broadsheet to a completely different format."
Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff