Compact broadsheets do battle in the regions

Kelner: ‘our product is superior’

The popularity of “compact” broadsheets outside the M25 commuter zone was put to the test this week as both The Times and Independent went national with their tabloid versions.

The mini-Indy is now available in 85 per cent of the country, with circulation increased from Tuesday to include the Yorkshire, Central, Anglia and Tyne Tees television regions.

The Times has increased its tabloidsize print run to 260,000 and expanded distribution from Monday to include the Carlton, Anglia, Meridian, Central and Granada television regions. Previously it was only available inside the M25.

Indy editor Simon Kelner said: “We expected The Times to expand its circulation area. I think ours is a superior product and we are happy to be judged on the content rather than the format.

“The launch of The Times in London hasn’t seemed to have affected us greatly.”

On Boxing Day, The Independent ditched its broadsheet version altogether as a sampling exercise and found UK sales up on the day by more than 10 per cent year-on-year.

Kelner said: “I have had a lot of letters from readers in far-flung parts of Britain who greatly appreciated it and asked if they could have it every day.

“I think it has a desirability beyond commuters. I think it looks modern and fresh and, dare I say it, compact.”

Times Newspapers managing director Clive Milner said: “New readers have been attracted to our compact by the accessibility of the format and retained by the quality of the reporting and the writing. The compact has created a significant new audience for The Times and it has been well received by the industry and readers alike.”

By Dominic Ponsford

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