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Format changes in Swedish newspaper industry

In the early 2000s subscribed newspapers switched from the broadsheet to the tabloid format, and this may constitute the most obvious change made to the newspaper product in recent history. However, the industry has experienced a series of major changes under the surface as well. In terms of production, new technologies have led to new routines, rationalisation of the work process and new ways of publishing the product. In terms of the industry as a whole, there has been an increase in the number of company groups. As regards the market, it seems like the audience is losing interest in the traditional newspaper, and the advertisement agencies have never had more alternative channels to work with than today. Producing a newspaper today is nothing like it was only a decade ago.

We do know a great deal about how the market has developed. For example, the competition from freesheets has been studied thoroughly and the evolution of web newspapers has been followed closely since the mid-1990s. The fragmentation of the market and the increasing number of alternatives have been explored in-depth, and the strategies used and decisions made in connection with various major changes are currently being investigated in a number of studies. However, we lack knowledge about how the structural and market-related changes have affected the traditional newspaper as a product.

The overall purpose of the project is to study the relevance of the change from one format to another for the traditional newspaper as a product. How does a newspaper change when its format changes? We will address partly the content and partly the form. Yet the transition to the tabloid format can be looked upon as a consequence of the structural changes observed in the media market; thus, any changes in content and form could be a result of the overall changing playing field in the media sector rather than of a new format. Changes in content and form must therefore be considered and analysed against the background of the structural and market-related changes observed at large.

Funding: Hamrins stiftelse

Period: 2010–2013

Page Manager: Mats Ekström|Last update: 3/8/2012

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