That patriarch of British newspapers, The Times, has ditched its traditional broadsheet format to become a "compact" - upscale speak for "tabloid".

The 216-year-old "Thunderer", owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, has been quick to pledge its continuing commitment to quality journalism.

It has published both formats of the paper concurrently for twelve months, prompted to take the plunge into tabloid waters following The Independent's dual format lead last year and its complete transformation this May. The Times was convinced to go tabloid from yesterday, November 1, by a 4.5% circulation increase.

The move has been welcomed by advertisers and media buyers who have been paying a single rate for broadsheet and tabloid pages for some time.

Says Steve Goodman of Mediacom: "I'd have done it a lot earlier - it was costing them a lot to produce two versions. There may be some older readers who continue to resist but I think when given no choice most Times readers will come round."

Agrees Abba Newbery, of media planners the Allmond Partnership: "It is the future and you can't hold back progress. I'm sure people were pretty shocked and outraged when TV went colour."

Claims The Times' editor Robert Thompson: "The launch of the compact has transformed the fortunes of the newspaper and made The Times even more influential as Britain's journal of record."

The UK's two remaining broadsheet national dailies are the centre-left The Guardian and the establishment-leaning Daily Telegraph.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff