The Independent, Britain's left-leaning upmarket daily broadsheet, which made newspaper history last year by simultaneously publishing an alternative tabloid version with identical editorial content [WAMN: 26-Sep-03], is dropping the broadsheet edition on Saturdays only as of January 31.

Says chief executive Ivan Fallon: "It is clear from our research, and from reader feedback, that the compact edition has a value and desirability far beyond the commuter population." The new format helped boost average daily sales of the paper by 8.7% in the year to December 2003.

Many observers see tabloid-only Saturdays as the writing on the wall for the unwieldy broadsheet format -- although its death is likely to be a prolonged affair, with TI's management wary at offending those readers who prefer the traditional appearance.

Against this, however, publisher Independent News & Media has to weigh the high cost of continuing to print in dual formats.

Rupert Murdoch's The Times has emulated the alternative size experiment, albeit with lesser success. It recently extended the tabloid option beyond the original Greater London circulation area, and a compact Times is now on sale in Manchester, Liverpool, the Midlands and the south-east.

Within Britain's media village, there is much speculation as to whether the two remaining broadsheet nationals -- The Guardian and Daily Telegraph -- will follow suit.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff