Independent lines up a Saturday tabloid

The Independent has gone a step closer to ditching its broadsheet version altogether by going completely tabloid on Saturday.

A compact version of the weekday paper has been available since 30 September, but 31 January will be the first time the Saturday edition is produced in the compact format.

Indy editor Simon Kelner told Press Gazette last year there could be a “tipping point” – when compact sales so far outweighed broadsheet ones, the larger format would be ditched. Although, he said, there were no plans to do this.

The compact Saturday paper will be a five-section package, including a news and sport section, the Saturday magazine, The Information listings and entertainment guide, an expanded Save & Spend finance supplement and a new magazine called Traveller.

Since the launch of the weekday compact, initially in London but now circulated in 85 per cent of the UK, The Independent has reversed a longterm sales decline. In December, total sales of the newspaper were up 8.7 per cent year-on-year to 237,816.

Chief executive of Independent News and Media Ivan Fallon said: “It is clear from our research, and from reader feedback, that the compact edition has a value and desirability far beyond the commuter population.

“Our readers lead busy lives on Saturday, too, and we will produce a modern newspaper that is in tune with modern lifestyles. We intend to build on the success of our Monday to Friday compact edition to create an unrivalled Saturday package.”

The Times launched its tabloid-size version on 26 November and has also expanded to cover much of the country outside the capital.

While there has been speculation that The Guardian has a team working on a tabloid version, The Daily Telegraph moved a step closer to making the switch this week.

Prospective new Telegraph proprietor David Barclay said in a Guardian interview: “My young family members like tabloids. The broadsheet is associated with an older generation so we might be forced to do it.”

By Dominic Ponsford

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