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Panpa Bulletin : August September 2007
54 PANPA Bulletin August-September 2007 pressing matters Is the change from broadsheet to compact newspaper formats a strategy that can help offset declining reader numbers and advertising income? The results of an Ifra eye tracking study show that the trend that can be observed in many newspaper markets towards compact for- mats is especially suited to the needs of the readers. The better manageability is just one point in favour of the compact newspaper. The eye tracking method permitted detailed findings to be obtained concerning the perception of different design variations in both formats. The analysis shows that the compact format has the major potential to become the reader compatible newspaper of the future -- but for this an integrated concept of format, design and content is necessary. The study recently presented as Ifra Special Report 03.2007 was conducted between September 2006 and March 2007 at the Media Science Faculty of Trier University in Germany. The research project was realised with the support of Ifra and the Axel Springer publishing corporation. Springer's Welt and Welt Kompakt supported the recruitment of test persons and organised the delivery of the newspapers in the run up to the study. Compact or broadsheet? For readers, more than the format is decisive. From the point of view, there is a ot to be said in favour of a compact format. Manageability is the decisive argument. The tudy revealed a clear preference for the ompact newspaper. However, a distinction must be made in he vote where the contents of the newspa- per are concerned. With Welt Kompakt, a version of a newspaper was tested that contained a arget audience-oriented topic selection and processing that do not bring the contents of the broadsheet edition 1:1 into the small ormat. The direct comparison of the products that differ in part also impact newspapers, a format conversion is more than just a ques- tion of design. It is in any case a process in which all departments of a publishing house must be involved: newsroom, distribution, ad marketing and technical production. An orientation on how readers actually use newspapers can support this process.. Manfred Werfel Ifra Research Director, Deputy CEO Ifra is the international association for newspaper and media publishing. Services, o ered primarily to Ifra members, include the annual trade exhibition IfraExpo, international conferences, seminars and training events as well as consulting, research and various publications. Ifra study: compact is eye candy The new Ifra Special Report 03.2007 is available for all Ifra members from www. ifra.com/research for download. The eye tracking technique uses a system of video and mirrors in the helmet of the test reader that tracks the movement of the eyeball. The Iso attention graphic (right) shows the size of the individual elements of the newspa- per page (left) against the attention it attracts. Elements are enlarged whose share of the total attention is greater than their share of the overall space. Those elements whose share of the total attention is lower are shown smaller.