Broadsheets ready to slim down

Tabloids are here to stay. Saturday's Dagens Nyheter reported that more and more broadsheets across Sweden are being trimmed to tabloid format - and then announced its own imminent downsizing.

Dagens Nyheter, Göteborgs-Posten and Sydsvenskan are all changing format in October, and a number of smaller local papers are planning to follow the trend started by Svenska Dagbladet in 2000.

As Torbjörn Bergmark, the editor of Västerbottens-Kuriren, pointed out, once the big players start heading for the smaller format, it becomes more expensive to maintain production of a broadsheet.

“If you are the only one left with a broadsheet layout you may run into problems,” he said.

And although papers across Europe are heading towards the tabloid format, editors in Sweden are still nervous about the effect on the bottom line. While people may find it easier to read tabloid papers and circulation generally increases, advertisers are disinclined to pay the same amount for a smaller ad.

“Ads on a page in a broadsheet are more effective than in a tabloid paper,” said Joakim Regeheim, from the media analyst company Scream.

Editors also worry that tabloids will change the way people read the news.

“In the long run we may risk losing the relationship that our readers have with the morning papers. If the tabloids force the pace of news-reading it also means they might fail to engage readers”, said Regeheim.

He added that “the tabloid is only a trend” and that broadsheets in Sweden will never disappear completely.