June 13, 2017 Last Updated 1:42 pm

The Guardian and The Observer to become tabs in early 2018

Guardian Media Group also announced that it had signed a printing deal with Trinity Mirror, and with it would close its Trafford and Stratford printing sites

The Guardian Media Group announced today that it would take its titles — The Guardian and The Observer — to tabloid formats early next year. The company also announced that Trinity Mirror would take over printing and with it would close its print facility.

The move, which will be a bit of a shock to Guardian employees, is obviously designed to significantly cut costs as the money losing daily and Sunday papers.

The Independent and The Telegraph broke parts of the news recently, forcing the hand of GMG to announce the move today. The move is hoped stems losses which have reportedly grown to £62.6 million annually.

The Guardian is one of the last dailies in the UK to use the Berliner format, so the move to Trinity Mirror for printing would force the change in format.

The Guardian launched an iPad edition to great fanfare in October of 2011, but unlike Quebec-based La Presse, which fully committed to a digital-only format, the Guardian has instead tried to make its website strategy a winner.

Here is the announcement from Guardian Media Group on the format move:

London, UK — June 13, 2017 – Guardian Media Group (GMG) today announces that the Guardian and The Observer print titles will move to tabloid formats in early 2018 as part of three-year transformation programme announced last year.

GMG has signed a contract with Trinity Mirror to take on the responsibility of printing both the Guardian and The Observer titles from early 2018. GMG’s printing sites in Trafford and Stratford will be closed.

The move signals GMG’s ongoing commitment to high-quality print journalism, in a bold new format.

It will also make a significant contribution to the financial target set out by CEO David Pemsel and editor in chief Katharine Viner in their three-year transformation plan for Guardian News and Media.

The three-year programme includes building a deeper set of relationships between the Guardian and its readers, developing and growing the membership offering, restructuring the advertising business, and reducing the business’ cost base in order to break even at operating level by 2019.

David Pemsel, chief executive, Guardian Media Group, said:

“This is an important step in our three-year transformation plan. More people are reading and supporting our journalism than ever before, but the print industry continues to evolve, and we must evolve with it. We plan to continue the Guardian’s record of producing bold, brilliantly designed award-winning print journalism.

“This will impact a number of our print site colleagues and we will honour our commitments to them as part of the transition process to Trinity Mirror.”

Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief, Guardian News & Media, said:

“The Berliner is a beautiful format which has served our readers brilliantly for 12 years but we know that it is our award-winning, quality, independent journalism that our readers value most, rather than the shape or size of the newspapers.

“We are going to create a new look tabloid Guardian and Observer that are bold, striking and beautiful – and which still contain the agenda-setting journalism for which we’re renowned.”

The Guardian and The Observer newspapers have been printed in the Berliner format since 2005. With its ground-breaking design, the Guardian became the UK’s first full-colour national newspaper.

There will now be a consultation period with affected print site staff, including the ability to TUPE across to Trinity Mirror.

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