Survey shows young and rich take the tabloid Times

Times: compact has helped sales

Readers of the tabloid-size Times appear to be younger and richer than those who prefer the broadsheet.

But the high number of Times readers who stubbornly refused to switch to the new format means the paper is stuck with the expense of dual publishing for the foreseeable future.

The Times this week revealed the results of an in-depth survey of more than 5,000 of its readers.

It revealed that 32 per cent were broadsheet-only readers, 28 per cent had moved from the broadsheet to the tabloid and 31 per cent read both versions.

Some 9 per cent of readers said they had been lured to The Times purely because of the launch of the tabloid.

Compact readers appear to be more attractive to advertisers as they have a slightly higher average annual household income: £49,050 versus £46,840.

And in terms of demographics the compact Times appears to attract a slightly younger readership. Some 19 per cent of broadsheet readers are in the 35 to 44 age range, but they make up 25 per cent of the readers of the compact.

Over-55s make up 32 per cent of the broadsheet readers and 27 per cent of tabloid Times buyers.

When readers were asked why they chose the smaller version of the paper 36 per cent simply preferred the size, 23 per cent said it was easier to read on public transport, 18 per cent said it was easier to carry and 15 per cent because it was easier to read in other locations.

Two per cent said they bought the tabloid because it was the only version available.

Times commercial director Mike Gordon said: “The survey clearly shows that the new format has helped to strengthen the Times brand by attracting a young, upscale readership and as we have seen from the ABC figures, has led to an increase in sales.”

The survey was undertaken by IPSOS-RSL between February and the end of May.

The two-size Times is now available throughout the country, but was still not for sale in Wales, the West Country, Scotland or Northern Ireland when this research was carried out.

ABC figures reveal that The Times has increased from 622,102 sales to 653,264 since the compact edition was launched.

The Independent, now fully tabloid, has increased its circulation from 218,567 to 261,009 since launching a scaled-down version in September.

Last week The Guardian confirmed that it is planning to switch to a new size altogether, in between broadsheet and tabloid, in 2006.

By Dominic Ponsford

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