Compact quality dailies offer a valuable alternative for advertisers

Readers’ reaction to the compact Indy has been positive. A market willing to embrace such innovation is a rich seam for advertisers. By Andrew Christie

Almost a year has passed since The Independent did the unthinkable, launching a compact edition in one of the UK’s most established markets. Whether considered brave or foolhardy, the move to compact has changed the face of the quality newspaper market forever. No longer will a reader in search of quality editorial be forced to perform dexterous origami folds to digest their daily news. The compact represents a viable alternative.

Against the backdrop of a declining market, the compact stimulated a level of turnaround unprecedented in quality newspapers. For those media owners that have adopted the format, instant and continued sales increases are being experienced. The format change certainly better suits the needs of the younger 21st-century reader.

Traditionally, the title selection was largely driven by readers’ preferred editorial style. Quality compact editions challenged this, particularly for commuters. For some, it offered new access points to quality editorial, while for others it was simply a case of increasing frequency or switching from another broadsheet. Irrespective of the growth source, the compact format has delivered a more common-sense approach to quality news reporting.

New buyers and readers are, not surprisingly, younger and more upmarket – an attractive hook to many advertisers. However, to categorise them exclusively in demographic terms is, perhaps, missing a vital point. The real discriminator for Indy readers is their willingness to change. Readers have changed their newspaper format so why not, for instance, their credit card supplier? What is increasingly apparent is that compact readers are open to change in a number of areas – obviously an attractive proposition for advertisers.

Classical market delivery is undoubtedly a key factor for advertisers, but the compact offers a number of additional gains. Most notable of these is the issue of whether a compact page differs from a broadsheet in impact terms. The Belgian Gazet van Antwerpen newspaper tested the impact of a variety of advertisements in both broadsheet and compact forms within the same newspaper. The results were identical on every count. Applying this to the UK market, the net result is a significant increase in value for advertisers, as the relative cost of a compact page is markedly lower than for a broadsheet.

The reaction to the compact has undoubtedly been positive and in many ways, has stimulated competitiveness in the segment. Yet, the broadsheet has a strong presence and is the chosen form of news delivery for many; particularly older readers.

As for the Indy changing to a compact format, there are certainly no regrets. Readers now associate the brand with “intelligent innovation”, which will further guide our development. The more immediate challenge, however, is to communicate to advertisers exactly what has changed and how this can benefit their business.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here