Compact Independent on Sunday slammed by buyers as ‘low rent’

The Independent on Sunday’s tabloid format has been slammed as “low rent” by media buyers and rivals.

Press buyers are concerned that The Independent on Sunday has not changed its content and may have missed a chance to address poor performance.

September’s Audit Bureau of Circulations figures showed the title trailed rivals with a circulation of 168,503 excluding bulks – down six per cent year on year.

Last Sunday the first edition of the long-awaited compact Independent on Sunday was rolled out. According to marketing chief David Greene, circulation rose by between 10,000 and 15,000 copies.

Starcom press director Adrian Pike says: “Sunday is a different read when it comes to newspapers, the new Indy on Sunday is uncomfortable – it’s just not for me.”

Another buyer says the format lends itself to weekdays, when readers are commuting, but does not suit a quality Sunday newspaper.

The Independent was the first quality newspaper to go compact in 2003, followed by The Times – The Guardian recently relaunched in the Berliner format. The Independent is the first Sunday title to change format ahead of anticipated changes at The Sunday Telegraph and the Observer.

Other industry sources have been more damning, with one saying: “The Indy on Sunday hasn’t blown me away: in fact I was fairly disappointed. It seems a bit low rent – more of a money-saver in printing costs than being revolutionary.”

Greene counters this, saying: “We did not change the Independent’s content when it went tabloid. We’ve beaten the others to a change in our Sunday paper and come up with a good product that is more in line with the daily.”

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