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The worldwide triumph of the tabloid newspaper format seemed like a foregone conclusion, but in the final analysis the real ad-attuned thinkers in the U.S. may be those sticking with the beleaguered broadsheet.

Renowned broadsheets such as London's Times and Independent and Kuala Lumpur's New Straits Times boosted circulation figures by switching to the tabloid format. Six months after The Guardian switched from a broadsheet to a tabloid-like "Berliner" format, it was named newspaper of the year at the British Press Awards. The tabloid revamps spawned a fast-expanding line of international imitators.

Yet, one year later, not a single major U.S. metro broadsheet has made the leap-and ad buyers say that's OK with them.

The problems with the format, advertisers say, are twofold: First, many U.S. consumers still view tabloids as inherently lowbrow. And, second, the smaller size isn't as conducive to the blowout display ads that major print advertisers, such as department stores, still stuff Sunday newspapers with.

"I'd have to say there's some truth to" Sunday advertisers' dislike of the format, says John Cruickshank, chief operating officer of Hollinger International's 100 Chicago-area papers, including the tabloid Chicago Sun-Times and the broadsheet Daily Southtown. "Some advertisers do like the extra space."

And U.S. publishers like that extra space as well because they can charge more for it.
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