The tabloid version of the Irish Independent goes on sale throughout the Republic this week. Independent News & Media said sales had increased by 10 to 15 per cent in most regions where the tabloid version has already been available.
But according to some reports, the rise in sales has been largely at the expense of the company’s evening paper, the Evening Herald, which has been in steady decline for years.
Introduced in the greater Dublin area in February, the tabloid Independent was then launched in Munster and in several commuter towns in Leinster, in the east of the country.
Given the extra production costs, it is thought unlikely IN&M will maintain the dual format indefinitely.
Company marketing director Barry Brennan has denied any plans to phase out the broadsheet.
Independent research is believed to have shown that if the company moved to exclusively tabloid presentation, it would lose about 20 per cent in sales. Readers in rural areas in particular are considered unlikely to favour scrapping the broadsheet.
However, Brennan is on record as saying that although demand for the tabloid version had been expected to be strong in Dublin, the company had been pleasantly surprised by the strength of demand in areas where it is on sale outside the capital
By Des Cryan in Dublin