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Observer set to make the move to Berliner format before Christmas

LONDON - The Observer could be set to make the switch to the Berliner format before Christmas, following sister title The Guardian in making an early format switch and beating rival the Independent on Sunday to the punch.

The Observer had been due to change format early next year, but with The Guardian move out of the way, speculation is that Guardian Newspapers wants to move ahead the Sunday change early.

However, with an Independent on Sunday move to compact format also expected in the new year, The Observer could go early.

The Observer, which is a £10m-a-year cash drain on owner The Scott Trust, has seen its circulation slip in recent months, dropping again in August by 4.49% to 425,737. Last year, it was selling around 441,193.

GNL rushed forward the move to Berliner for The Guardian by as much as a year, having first said that it would change the paper's format at some point in mid 2006.

Media buyers believe that the earlier the switch comes, the quicker circulation problems can be arrested. The Guardian's circulation fell 4.65% last month to 341,698 although August is a typically a poor month all round for newspaper circulation.

There have been speculative reports earlier this year about the move to the Berliner format not being favoured by Observer editor Roger Alton.

Earlier this year, there were reports that the Guardian Media Group was considering selling off its Sunday newspaper to protect it from continuing losses at the title.

GMG has invested an estimated £50m in the relaunch of The Guardian in its switch to a mid-size Berliner shape, which is used by many European papers including Le Monde in France.

GNL has denied there is any truth to the speculation.

Date posted: September 14, 2005 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 97