AUSTRALIA
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Australia

Fairfax newspapers go 'compact' to boost readership, ad revenue

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 March, 2013, 3:21am

Australian broadsheet newspapers The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age yesterday ditched their broadsheet format for tabloid sizing in a major overhaul at ailing media giant Fairfax.

The move is part of the firm's bid to shore up readership and advertising revenue in an increasingly digital landscape that has forced the closure of newspapers across the world.

Fairfax announced the sacking of 1,900 staff in June in a radical cost-saving move and plans to put the Herald, which has been a broadsheet since 1831, and Melbourne paper The Age, founded in 1854, behind a paywall this year.

The research we've done shows that reading a compact newspaper is easier and preferable to reading a broadsheet

Herald editor-in-chief Sean Aylmer said the move to a "compact" format on the weekday editions was in response to reader wishes, although the Saturday editions will remain in their traditional format.

"The research we've done shows that reading a compact newspaper is easier and preferable to reading a broadsheet," he said. "So we've changed our shape. But nothing else is going to change. We are committed to quality journalism."

Peter Fray, a former top editor of the Herald, said if the tabloid switch did not work, weekday print editions of Fairfax titles could disappear within five years.