London Times Goes Strictly Tabloid
After more than two centuries as a broadsheet newspaper, The Times of London has gone strictly tabloid. On Monday, The Times moved to a totally compact format after almost a year of dual publication. The decision follows a similar decision by another UK newspaper, The Independent, which stopped printing a broadsheet edition in May in favor of a tabloid format. “This is a significant moment in the 216 year history of The Times,” the newspaper’s editor, Robert Thomson, said in announcing the change Friday. “The launch of the compact has transformed the fortunes of the paper and made The Times even more influential as Britain’s journal of record.”
The move comes as the latest circulation figures show The Times — owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News International — posted a third consecutive year-on-year increase. The Times said its circulation rose by 14,536 copies, up 2.28 percent on the year, giving it a total of 652,264 copies. Full price sales were up more than 3 percent in the same period. Sales of the compact edition has reached 300,000, representing 46 percent of the newspaper’s total sales.
The broadsheet format, still the norm for most U.S. papers, is an anachronism based on limitations imposed long ago by printing technology. While “tabloid” long ago become synonymous with “unserious,” it’s a far more convenient format for actually reading a newspaper. Of course, online is even more convenient.