Mexican Publishers Expand into the Southwestern United States

Low costs and a large audience with growing purchasing power are generally considered big advantages for publishers and advertisers. Many Mexican publishers are looking at these competitive factors as they analyze their chances for success in the US-Hispanic market, and in particular the Border States of Texas and California, which are increasingly becoming the expansion ground for Mexican publishers.

The printing and production costs (journalist salaries, design, etc.) in Mexico are only 30% of the same costs in the U.S. The 10% decline of the Mexican peso during the last few months is helping to make Mexico even more competitive as a publishing site. But the demographic factor is even more important. A vast majority of Hispanics who live in the Southern states of Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona are of Mexican origin. This population is growing tremendously. A report published last month by the University of California at Los Angeles showed that half of the babies being born in California are Latinos. The figure went up from 47.5% to 50.2% since the last sampling was published in 2001. Furthermore, almost 64% of births in the Los Angeles area – home to more than 40% of all Latinos in California – are Hispanic.

The proximity of Mexican and US towns along the border has made it natural for Mexican publishers to cross over into the US to market their print media products. This is the case with Ciudad Juarez (Mexico) and El Paso (Texas). Editora Paso del Norte, publisher of Diario de Juarez (circulation 84,000) is contemplating the expansion of its El Paso publications and workforce.

Another example of “borderland publishing” is Grupo Editores del Noreste, the owner of La Crónica de Baja California (Mexicali, Mexico), La Frontera (Tijuana, Mexico) and El Imparcial (Hermosillo, Mexico). The three newspapers have a combined total daily circulation of 55,250 copies. The papers emphasize a distinct brand of regional journalism that extends beyond the border. The region includes both the US (San Diego) and Mexico (Rosario y Tecate, Baja California).

Revistas y más revistas

Latino Leaders Magazine, published by the Mexican company Ferraez publications of America Corp., out of Carrollton, Texas, is another publishing venture that started out in Mexico and then expanded into the US. Jorge Ferraez, publisher of Latino Leaders Magazine, told Portadatm that his company had pursued the idea of expanding its Mexican magazine Lideres Mexicanos into the US-Hispanic market. “After two years of research we decided to launch the magazine at the beginning of 2002,” Ferraez said.

Latino Leaders Magazine is a bimonthly magazine written in English, with a circulation of 100,000 copies. Through interviews and feature stories, the publication covers the most important leaders of the US-Hispanic community. The magazine describes itself as “The National Magazine for the Successful Hispanic American.” Ferraez states that at the beginning “readers were not accustomed to a publication written in English about issues affecting Hispanics. However, they seem to be interested in a magazine about Latino success stories.”

Editorial Televisa, Mexico's largest magazine publisher (see Portadatm No. 1 January/February 2003), is a prime example of a publisher attempting to expand the readership of its most popular titles at home (Mexico) to a neighboring country (US). TV y Novelas, a biweekly magazine with a circulation in Mexico of 830,000, and the teen magazine Eres (Mexican circulation 83,000) are being heavily promoted in California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, and also in the Northeastern part of the United States.

The trend of Mexican publishers expanding into the US is followed, and supported, by the increasing amount of Mexican companies advertising in the US Hispanic market. Grupo Modelo and Femsa Cerveza, Mexico's top brewers, will spend a combined US $40 million in US media buys in 2003. According to ad-tracking firm CMR, corn flour manufacturer Maseca spent more than US $2 million in 2002, while the fruit juice producer Jumex spent around US $4 million. Mexican cement giant Cemex and baker Bimbo will also spend a sizable amount of advertising dollars on advertising to US-Hispanics.

It is important to note that, on average, the purchasing power of Hispanics is below the US average. Latino Leaders Magazine targets the high end of this demographic, said publisher Jorge Ferraez. “We target the business owners and decision-makers who are a driving force in one of the largest markets in the United States.” Ferraez says that the main advertisers in his magazine are big corporations like auto companies, banks, financial service providers and airlines. CPMs for a full page in color are around US $80.

When asked if he uses a different advertising sales network for US-Hispanic sales than the one he uses in Mexico, Ferraez said, “The Mexican and US-Hispanic markets are very different. Advertisers in these markets demand very different information and a different relationship.” The advertising rates being charged for publications in the Mexican and the US-Hispanic market are also very different. Ideas Publishing Group's (Conde Nast) Vogue en español charges CPMs of US $144 for its Mexican edition (full page, four colors) while the US edition has a CPM of US $256. Glamour en español has a Mexican CPM of US $60, while advertising a full page 4 colors in the US Hispanic edition costs US $106, according to the rate card.

Other Mexican print media ventures only have an advertising presence in the US. This is the case with El Financiero, Mexico's largest financial daily with a circulation of 147,000. Even though the number of US subscribers is negligible, the US has a large array of companies interested in advertising their products to the Mexican public. Marion Meszaros, sales representative of El Financiero in Los Angeles, cites Dell and Sony-USA as examples of these companies.

Along with the success stories, there have been failed attempts. Many publishing ventures initiated by publishers south of the border did not succeed. El Informador Sur de California, a weekly paper, was launched in 2001 as a sister paper of the daily El Informador (Guadalajara, Mexico). Sixty-five thousand copies were distributed in Los Ángeles, Riverside, Pomona, San Fernando Valley and San Bernardino.

Carlos Alvarez del Castillo Gregory, the main shareholder in El Informador, figured that the large population of Mexicans from Guadalajara would be interested in a “Mexican perspective” on current affairs. Additionally, Mexican companies were interested in advertising their products to Hispanics of Mexican origin. However, the weekly was not profitable and was discontinued on January 1, 2003. El Informador Sur de California had an alliance to cover sports and other news with La Prensa, the weekly Spanish language newspaper published by The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, California. The Press-Enterprise is owned by Belo Corp].

Perhaps the cause of El Informador Sur de California's failure was that it confused its readers by not making a clear and distinct difference in identity between the Guadalajara edition and the California Edition. Interestingly, Mexican financial daily El Financiero published a US edition in English until 1999. However, it cancelled the US edition because, according to sales representative Marion Meszaros, it “projected an image of duality” which confused the readers of the much larger Mexican edition.


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