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All You Need to Know About British Tabloids

British tabloids provide their readers a heady concoction of gossip, entertainment, and news. Let's check out some more details...
Uttara Manohar Oct 30, 2018
A rather infamous analogue of the British press, their tabloids are all about making the daily dose of news simpler, colorful, and sensational. Although tabloids in most countries have turned to splash their pages with celebrity news, an interesting feature of the British ones making news of every incident, like politics, sports, business or entertainment.


Red Top

Red top tabloids generally have a red masthead. They generally signify a more sensational style of journalism and perhaps that is indicated by the use if color red in the masthead of the newspaper.

Black Top

Black-top tabloids have a black masthead. Generally, they are considered less sensational and more serious form of the British press. The black color differentiates these tabloids from the sensational red-top versions.

Reasons for the Success

No matter how many people point fingers and frown upon them, it is a fact that the tabloids are popular and successful. There is a demand for compact news dose with peppy text and eye-catching pictures, and the tabloids are giving the readers just that.

Combating the New Media Wisely

Print media all over the world is facing serious competition from the new media, be it the Internet or television, and no one is geared up for the competition better than them.
The new media has the power to supplant the print, and hence the tabloids have achieved what the mainstream broadsheets are still struggling with - creating a readership niche. Also most of the tabloids have embraced the new media instead of competing with them and hence have their e-versions or online editions.

Getting the Format Right

The tabloids have maintained a compact format, which is rather convenient for the reader to pick up, read, and carry as well. The text is minimum and is supplemented with appropriate pictures. The entire format stresses more on the visual appeal rather than the textual content.

No Hypocrisy

Yes, the British tabloids wear this sensational tag with pride and accept that they are profit driven and aim for good business at the end of the day. The readers want sensational news, the tabloids give them just that - hot sensational news garnished with a lot of spice and dollops of entertainment.
They do not compete with the serious broadsheets; instead they have carved a niche for themselves. They have their own readership segment that is large enough to keep them going in the business.

Prominent British Tabloids

The Sun

Launched in: September 15, 1964
Owned by: News Corporation (Rupert Murdoch)
Masthead: Red-top Tabloid
The Sun is perhaps the most popular tabloids that is published in the United Kingdom as well the Republic of Ireland. Owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, the Sun has the highest circulation of any English daily newspaper.
Some of the regular interesting features include the Page Three Girl  which is highly criticized for being rather pornographic. The Paparazzi pictures are commonly featured on the front page.
Although the Sun heavily banks on celebrity news from several fields, gossip concerning the monarchy and soap opera storylines, this tabloid also features serious stories about issues like domestic abuse, pedophiles, and security scandals.

The Daily Mail

Launched in: 1896
Owned by: Daily Mail and General Trust PLC
Masthead: Black-top Tabloid
Started as a broadsheet in 1896, The Daily Mail switched to the tabloid format in 1971. It is Britain's oldest tabloid, and is not only the 2nd biggest selling daily newspaper but is the 12th largest circulation in the world among English language dailies. A black top tabloid, which introduced a Sunday title in 1982 that was known as the Mail on Sunday.

The Daily Mirror

Launch Date: 1903
Owned by: Trinity Mirror PLC
Masthead: Red-top Tabloid
Popularly referred to as 'The Mirror", the consistently left-center tabloid was launched in 1903. It was supposed to be a newspaper for women and run by women.
Alfred Harmsworth who originally started the newspaper had been quotes saying that, "I intend it to be really a mirror of feminine life as well on its grave as on its lighter sides - to be entertaining without being frivolous, and serious without being dull". In 1970s, the Sun excelled the Mirror's circulation, and reduction of circulation has afflicted it.

The People

Owned by: Trinity Mirror PLC

'The People' is a British tabloid that is published only on Sundays. The Trinity Mirror group that also runs the Daily Mirror owns this tabloid. This tabloid also banks chiefly on celebrity news and scandals.
Although it claims to be a competitor to The News of the World,  it has a rather unimpressive circulation of its competitor The News of the World.  It is reported that the tabloid has suffered financial damages due to the cost cutting strategy in the year 2006.

The Daily Star

Launch Date: 1978
Owned by: The Express Newspapers
Masthead: Red-top Tabloid
Published in 1978, the Daily Star was purportedly the first national daily in Britain after the launch of the Daily Mirror. This tabloid is published by the Express Newspapers group, which also owns the Daily Express and Sunday Express.
Like other red-top tabloids, the Daily Star also features celebrity news, gossip, and entertainment based features as its major content. Just like 'The Sun', this tabloid features a topless model on weekdays. These models are referred to as the 'Starbabes'.

The Daily Express

Launched in: 1900
Owned by: Express Newspapers
Masthead: Black-top Tabloid
The Daily Express is a middle-market black-top Tabloid. Owned by the Express Newspapers group, started in 1900 as a broadsheet with gossip and the crossword puzzle. It switched to the tabloid format in 1977. The Daily Mail remains its biggest rival. The front page of this British Tabloid label itself with a tagline that says "The World's Greatest Newspaper."

News of the World

Launched in: 1843
Owned by: News Group ( that is a branch of Murdoch's News Corporation)
News of the World is a Sunday-only tabloid, published by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Published in 1843 by John Brown Bell, the newspaper soon established itself as the most widely read Sunday newspaper.
Although the newspaper tends to focus on celebrity-based scoops and populist news, its constant interest and showcasing of sex scandals has gained it the nicknames like Sex 'n' Scandal weekly or News of the Screws and even Screws of the World.


Launched in: 1999
Owned by: Associated Newspapers
Metro is a free daily tabloid published by the Associated Newspapers group, which is available from Monday to Friday on most of the public transport services across the United Kingdom. Launched in 1999, the sales have already crossed the one million mark making it the fourth largest daily newspaper in the United Kingdom.
Mainly aimed at the traveling lot, the newspaper has a youthful appeal and is designed to be read in twenty minutes. Metro features a heady concoction of articles ranging from subjects like travel, homes, style, and health to arts, and entertainment listings.
Love them, hate them but you just cannot ignore them. British tabloids speak volumes about the survival of the Print media and serve as an excellent example of a successful; business model in the mass communication industry by creating a niche for themselves.
There exist a section of readers who would prefer a newspaper that could be picked up in their busy schedule and will serve as some quality light reading. It's like having different tastes in books, and tabloids symbolize pulp fiction - If you find them blasphemous, suit yourself!