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Berliner-size Guardian set for early entry?

Speculation is growing that The Guardian is to launch its new Berliner-style format by August, nearly eight months ahead of schedule. Officially, the paper's line this week was that the changed format – 6cm narrower than a broadsheet and 10cm longer than a tabloid – will not hit the streets before next year.

Unofficially a Guardian insider said: "If we can do it earlier than 2006, then we will." But sources have discounted rumours that Berliner-sized editions will be printed in Europe during the forthcoming general election and flown into London for distribution.

Guardian insiders say the cost of such an operation would be financially prohibitive and the publication deadlines would be too early to keep abreast of up-to-the-minute news in a fast-moving political campaign. Several agencies confirmed hearing rumours of a Berliner-style launch this summer and called on The Guardian to put them in the picture.

Dominic Williams, head of trading within Carat Direct, said: "We were told it was going to be 2006 and now, suddenly, it's going to be a rushed job for London in May and then it's going to be August. They should be working with us [agencies] not against us. We've got to manage clients."

Another to get wind of the rumours was BJK&E. Board director Tara Marus said agencies should be informed of any launch date as soon as possible, to enable them to plan "pro-actively rather than reactively." Joint manager Tim Irwin added: "I get the impression that the Guardian mid-size/Berliner format may be coming sooner than they are letting on."

Steve Goodman, press director at MediaCom, said: "Spring 2006 is still the date that The Guardian is talking about but I've heard rumours that it might be earlier." He wanted a 2005 launch. But he stressed: "I don't want it to be sprung on us. We need enough time – three to four months, say – to explain all the ramifications and have a dummy to show clients."

Date posted: March 1, 2005 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 57