A Think! reader recently wrote to me with the following question:
Is the new nameplate any indication the IHT plans to change format from broadsheet to tabloid or Berliner?
I haven't got the first idea.
I do know the bottom line counts for a lot these days, and there is no doubt, that if ALL print sites could go to Berliner tomorrow, I think they probably would. However, unlike most national newspapers, the IHT has dozens of print sites, all with different kit. It took the best part of a decade to get them all lined to get away from pre-print colour, so Lord knows how long it would take to pull the Berliner trigger.
But I have got some pretty strong views on why they shouldn't and a cost benefit analysis on the back of an envelope that shows why not. All predicated on one thing though: a much better design of the broadsheet formula.
Frankly, with the current design values, I don't think tabloid or Berlin would make a great deal of difference. And it would be a lot easier to read on an airplane.
What do most traditional newspaper readers care about newspaper formats and design? Not a lot. What they want is to be able to find the same stuff on the same page every day, and for the ink to stay on the paper and not come away on their hands.
What do a new generation of NON newspaper readers care about design and the design of something as archaic as print? My guess is a great deal.
So my advice would be is that if you just want to keep your aging profile, go Berliner. You won't lose many of them because of it, provided you keep the pagination up and don't reduce the type size too much (they are getting old and are already struggling to read the comics - is it just me or have they increased their size since the recent downsize?)
However, if you think about your newspaper as your major brand statement, rather like Chanel thinks of its handbags, then I'd say how the thing looks is pretty damn important.