LONDON: Readers of the Guardian were surprised this morning to find their paper had sort of shrunk from a broadsheet to a size that is known among the media as the ‘Berliner’.
It isn’t exactly a tabloid but readers are expected to find the new size “small enough to handle” as their ad says. The newspaper hopes the relaunch and the new look – all pages in colour, will win back readers that had moved to The Times and the Independent in 2003 when these newspapers changed to tabloid format.
In the July 2005 readership review by the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC), Guardian’s circulation had dropped by 358,000.
Guardian said the downsizing was in response to research which revealed that readers were uncomfortable with the broadsheet format and would rather read a newspaper that was easier to handle in many everyday situations such as commuting to work. The ‘Berliner’ size is midway between a broadsheet and a tabloid.
There was also the other challenge from free newspapers such as the Metro which was forcing other newspapers to reconsider their marketing strategy. Mainline newspapers were losing readers also to news sources like television and the Internet.
For Guardian, the redesign has meant a new masthead and a new typeface – the Guardian Egyptian and new state-of-the-art printing equipment – three MAN Roland ColourMan presses from Germany. Every page is now in colour and easier on the eye compared to Guardian’s earlier B/W look. There will also be a couple of new sections and 12 pages will feature the sports section exclusively.
The “radical change” as Guardian editor Alan Rusbridge calls it, involved a cost of £80 million and 1 1/2 year’s preparation.
Currently, the once the broadsheet newspapers are the Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times.