Exclusive: UK's Guardian could go tabloid, switch to rival's presses - sources

Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:54pm EST
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By Paul Sandle

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Guardian newspaper is considering becoming a tabloid and outsourcing printing to a rival such as Rupert Murdoch's News UK as one of a series of options to cut costs, sources told Reuters.

Publisher Guardian Media Group (GMG) said last year it needed to make savings of 20 percent to stem underlying losses that widened to 62.6 million pounds ($78 million) for the year to April 3. It said it was aiming to break even in three years.

"The company is working on a whole range of efficiency projects and the print program fits into that," one source close to the company said on Monday.

GMG prints both the Guardian and its Sunday stablemate The Observer on special presses bought more than 11 years ago when it switched from a broadsheet to the mid-sized Berliner format.

Editorially, the left-leaning Guardian has clashed with Murdoch's (NWSA.O: Quote) British newspapers, notably in bringing to light the phone-hacking scandal that resulted in the closure of his News of the World tabloid in 2011

On a business level, however, the two groups are collaborating, along with Trinity Mirror (TNI.L: Quote) and Telegraph Media Group, on Project Rio, a plan to pool newspaper advertising sales.

Daily Mail publisher DMGT (DMGOa.L: Quote) pulled out of the initiative this month, according to reports.

"The discussions explored a number of other areas of co-operation," one source said.   Continued...

Copies of the Guardian newspaper are displayed at a news agent in London August 21 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett