One of the country’s oldest newspapers has made the switch to compact format after 240 years as a broadsheet.
The Hampshire Chronicle, which was first published in the reign of George III, celebrated its move to the smaller size yesterday by publishing a 124-page edition.
The Newsquest-owned weekly comprised an 88-page news, sport, and pull-out leisure guide, together with a 36-page property section which has remained broadsheet.
However the format change was also accompanied by a cover price increase of more than 40pc, from 70p to £1.
Editor Keith Redbourn told readers the decision to switch to compact had followed a number of reader surveys and focus groups.
“The decision to change from broadsheet to compact was not taken lightly. Indeed over the last few years we have commissioned a series of focus groups, street surveys and spoken with many of our regular advertisers to garner opinion,” he said.
“The feedback in all of our surveys has overwhelmingly supported the move to compact.
“We realise of course that there will be some readers loyal to the broadsheet shape, and to those people we say: give compact a try.”
Keith told HTFP that early reader reaction to the change has been overwhelmingly positive.
“It was important to get the look just right by improving the design and content in a way that wouldn’t look too different to what had gone before. I think we achieved our aim,” he said.
“Incredibly, one comment we received was that we’d gone up market, and that it looked just like The Times!
“Another said it was brilliant, and she hoped the Daily Telegraph would follow suit!”
On the cover price increase, Keith said it reflected the decline of traditional advertising revenue streams.
“Many of the advertising sectors which have effectively subsidised quality local journalism over the years are receding, and if we want to maintain standards and provide coverage which is high in quality, comprehensive, and independent then we must charge a realistic price,” he told readers.