Despite countless denials UK quality daily The Guardian and its veteran Sunday sister title The Observer seem set to switch from broadsheet format to tabloid. But not yet.

Word on the street is that Guardian Media Group, which owns the two left-of-centre titles is putting up £50 million ($91m; €75m) for a relaunch in 2006.

Rather than saying the paper is going tabloid (which in nuanced UK terminology implies 'down-market'), the term coined by the quality press is 'compact'.

Alternatively, the ritzier titles prefer to say they have adopted the 'Berliner format' used by many continental publications in France, Germany and the Mediterranean.

Such a move has been expected, despite denials by Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger. He believes there are other preferred but undisclosed options, arguing that a shrunken version of the main title would compromise its editorial integrity.

GMG, however, is a business not an icon of altrusim. Rival quality dailies The Times (owned by Rupert Murdoch's News International) and The Independent, have launched tabloid size versions and witnessed a rise in sales.

With renewed speculation that the Daily Telegraph may also be opting for the fashionable petite look, Rusbridger, reknowned for playing his cards close to his chest, may be altering his game plan.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff