It was undoubtedly an exciting turn of events for PRs and journalists alike this week when the Guardian finally revealed its first tabloid format in what has been a long-awaited redesign.
The change caused quite a stir on social media and had other national newspapers chomping at the bit to poke fun at one of their rivals, with the Sun’s masthead reminding readers that its paper is £1.50 cheaper, and the Telegraph taking the opportunity to claim it was “Britain’s biggest and best quality newspaper”.
Feedback on Twitter was decidedly mixed, with some saying the new design was fresh and convenient, while others said the Guardian is already starting to adopt the “bad habits” sometimes demonstrated by tabloids.
But what does the change tell us about the future of the newspaper industry? Is it an exciting adaptation or a show of desperation?
The beginning of the end?
The Guardian’s primary reason for the new format was to save millions on printing costs, with the paper having made a loss of £38m last year. Does this reflect a further drop in demand for print news in the modern world? With the latest stories available to us at the touch of a button, it seems readers need only open an internet tab to consume never-ending content. It begs the question, will newspapers eventually become obsolete?
A sign of the times?
Though we’re inevitably creatures of habit, we live in a world that develops so rapidly that our needs are constantly changing. It seems inevitable that newspapers will have to change with us. We live fast-paced lives, we’re often on the move, and trying to read a broadsheet newspaper without ruining the life of the commuter next to you just isn’t practical anymore. Even newspapers with a strong brand presence and loyal readership will need to adapt to modern times if they want to stay in the game.
True to the Telegraph’s word, it remains one of the only broadsheet newspapers still in existence in the UK, alongside the Financial Times. Will these brands become stronger as a result, viewed as the figureheads of the traditional broadsheet? Or is the Guardian’s redesign an indication that the UK’s last remaining broadsheets will eventually have to go the same way?
All these questions are yet to be answered, but as biased PRs, we have to conclude that size does matter. The Guardian’s new format makes it easier to read on the move, more distinctive and easier to spot any client-relevant stories in the news agenda. Whether the redesign will reflect positively on the paper’s circulation figures however, remains to be seen.