London, United Kingdom | AFP | Britain’s Guardian newspaper is to move to a tabloid format in early 2018 as part of its “three-year transformation programme,” parent company Guardian Media Group (GMG) announced on Tuesday.
The Guardian’s sister Sunday title The Observer will also be downsized from their shared Berliner format.
The move is part of the GMG’s three-year transformation programme unveiled last year.
Among other goals, the programme includes restructuring the advertising business and “reducing the business’ cost base in order to break even at operating level by 2019”.
In the financial year to the end of June 2016, GMG reported losses of £69 million ($88 million, 78 million euros).
The cost-reduction programme also planned for 250 jobs to be cut, including 100 in editorial.
“This is an important step in our three-year transformation plan. More people are reading and supporting our journalism than ever before, but the print industry continues to evolve, and we must evolve with it,” David Pemsel, GMG’s chief executive said.
The Guardian and The Observer switched from the traditional broadsheet format to its full-colour Berliner style in 2005, which required £80 million in investment.
Editor-in-chief Katherine Viner defended the latest move on the Guardians’ website, arguing that “declining circulations mean that printing the Berliner is becoming increasingly expensive”.
“Moving to a tabloid format will allow us to be far more flexible in responding to changing print demand,” she added.
It would also save millions of pounds every year, helping the group to become financially sustainable so it could invest in the journalism, she added.
Trinity Mirror, the UK’s largest publisher, will take over printing while GMG’s two printing sites in Trafford, near Manchester and in the London borough of Stratford will close.
Guardian and Observer to go tabloid in print editions from early 2018
— Julian Borger (@julianborger) June 13, 2017