Kelner said the tabloid launch had increased the paper’s profitability
The Independent has started to phase out production of its broadsheet edition.
The broadsheet version has been gradually withdrawn across the UK and is now only available in the Carlton TV region. The tabloid now accounts for more than 80 per cent of sales.
In production terms, there are now four editions of the compact Independent through the evening and the broadsheet has become a one-edition paper going to press at midnight.
Editor Simon Kelner said: “Circulation figures are still growing in all areas. In the areas of Britain where we’ve withdrawn the broadsheet, sales have not suffered as a result.
“We just wanted to test it to see what effect it had on circulation – we are very encouraged by the result so far.
“We are expecting the ABC for April to be at the 260,000 mark, which is good considering we’ve not done much promotion this month.”
In April 2003, The Independent was selling 222,630. Kelner declined to reveal when the broadsheet version would be axed, but such a move would have the advantage of greatly reducing production costs.
Times editor Robert Thomson told the Financial Times this week there was “no reason” why his paper would not continue publishing in two formats for another five years. It began printing a tabloid version in November, six weeks after The Independent.
Accounts released by Companies House for last year revealed that Times Newspapers lost £28.7m for the year to the end of June.
Kelner said his paper, which also had been making losses, was on course to increase profitability as a result of the tabloid launch.
He added: “Ever since the compact became our main focus of production, we’ve been able to devote more time and energy to it.
“It’s evolving bit by bit – it’s become a more confident and more attractive product than it was two months ago. We are only seven months into it and it’s going to continue to evolve and improve.”
This week marks Kelner’s sixth year as editor of The Independent and it is enjoying the highest circulation and market share it has had in that period.
He said: “In a world such as ours the novelty of being compact quickly wears off – what we are very much encouraged by is the fact that readers are sticking with it because of the content.”
By Dominic Ponsford