The Independent newspaper, UK flagship of Sir Anthony O'Reilly's Independent News & Media, triumphantly justified its decision to offer a tabloid alternative to its broadsheet format, marking the move with a 7.74% circulation surge in the first month of side-by-side publication.

Although still a minnow at the quality end of the UK market, The Independent has seen its average daily circulation rise to 235,491 since rolling-out the tabloid format in Greater London at the end of September. Such was its success that the new look option has been extended to southern and north-western England.

No other newspaper among the five UK quality dailies has posted a rise in circulation over the same period - most remaining flat save for Conrad Black's Daily Telegraph which sagged 2.61% to 914,169.

For the time being at least, Independent readers have a choice between tabloid and broadsheet formats - although the editorial content is identical. However, given the success of the switch, media analysts expect the new format to take over entirely.

The experiment is being watched with keen interest by other UK broadsheets, most if not all of which are likely to follow suit if the Independent's success proves more than a flash in the pan.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff