After Berita Harian/Berita Minggu ditched their broadsheet size, the only mainstream newspaper that is holding on to that tradition is the Utusan Malaysia/Mingguan Malaysia. From what I hear, the Utusan group is happy to continue with its present format.
There are advantages. The group already have its tabloid newspaper, Kosmo!, which has a claimed circulation of about 130,000. If the main paper goes tabloid, it will compete with Kosmo!, and that is not a good strategy, some friends say.
Berita Harian's tabloid version hasn't really excited many readers. It's basically cosmetic changes. The contents are the same, basically very much a pro-establishment (and pro-PM) paper. Nothing really exceptional.
The Utusan chaps said they are the only newspaper which can offer big across-the-gutter advertisements broadsheet size. This can come in handy on special occassions. They said they are happy with the present format and will make sure it stays that way.
The Utusan chaps believe that there has been no real increase in circulation for the NSTP newspapers which are all tabloids now. Quoting AC Nielsen, they said the circulation figures have been stagnant.
In fact, they said the new Malay Mail has also seen a drop in sales, hovering not much more than 20k copies. Ibrahim Nor has to find new ways to check the decline.
But no one can guarantee this. The Utusan Chief editor Khalid Mohd will leave soon, as do its chairman, Hashim Makaruddin. The new bosses have not been publicly named, and they may have other ideas. We just have to wait.