The Gray Lady Expands into Latin America
The New York Times recently signed several deals to launch Spanish weekly inserts in partner newspapers in México and Central America (logical entry points into the Latin American branded syndication market due to the very strong connection these countries have with Hispanics in the United States). The supplements include news coverage, commentary, color photos and graphics about the United States, world affairs, business, culture and social trends. Beyond, this NYT project isn't limited to those two areas, as newspapers in Europe and Asia have also signed up for the service. The New York Times Company's aim is to become more international.
The New York Times recently signed several deals to launch Spanish weekly inserts in partner newspapers in México and Central America. On January 12, a New York Times (NYT) supplement was launched in El Salvador’s Diario de Hoy. On November 23, 2002, New York Times supplements were published in the four Méxican dailies owned by Grupo Reforma: El Norte (Monterrey), Reforma (México City), Mural (Guadalajara) and Palabra (Saltillo). On November 3, 2002, the Dominican Republic’s weekly, Listin Diario, began publishing its NYT supplement.
The supplements include news coverage, commentary, color photos and graphics about the United States, world affairs, business, culture and social trends. Aidan McNulty, marketing and communications manager at the New York Times Syndication Sales Corp. told Portada™ that these supplements are published in Spanish and retain the layout and typography of the New York Times. The supplements are prepared in New York by a team of nine editors, translators, and designers from the New York Times News Services under the supervision of Paul Laurence, the executive editor of the New York Times News Service.
México and Central America are logical entry points into the Latin American branded syndication market due to the very strong connection these countries have with Hispanics in the United States. “These pages extend our connection with the large population of Dominicans who reside in the United States,” said Miguel Franjul, director of the Dominican Listin Diario.
It will be interesting to see if the New York Times Company is able to sign additional agreements in South America. With some Latin American countries very critical of U.S. foreign policy, a supplement from a U.S. newspaper might not be popular.
The New York Times Company, said McNulty, is not looking to expand these branded syndication deals in Spanish into the U.S. Hispanic market. In a related story, The Wall Street Journal began its first U.S. Hispanic partnership, extending its franchise into the U.S. Hispanic market in late October 2002 through a partnership with Spanish language weekly Washington Hispanic (Portada™ No. 1 January/February 2003, page 3).
'We are not currently looking to expand our branded syndication deals to the US-Hispanic market.'
The financial arrangement
McNulty was not specific about the financial agreement between the NYT and the Latin American papers, but said that each paper pays a flat fee to publish the supplement. “They keep any ad revenues,” said McNulty. As to whether the papers have exclusive rights to NYT supplements in their own markets, McNulty said that he deals with the issue of exclusivity. Industry insiders assume that these deals with Latin American newspapers do grant exclusivity.
“This is an international project and it is not limited to Latin America. There are also newspapers in Europe and Asia that have signed up for the service,” explained McNulty. Among the European and Asian newspapers that have signed a supplement deal are the Danish paper Politiken, India’s Asian Age and Le Monde in France.
“We see the expansion of this weekly supplement to Europe, and now Latin America, as an opportunity to bring the New York Times’ brand of quality journalism to a global audience,” said Janet Robinson, president and general manager of the New York Times.
Global age, global brand
In fact, the Latin American branded syndication deals are a relatively small part of the NYT strategy to internationalize its brand. The acquisition last fall of International Herald Tribune (IHT) was the beginning of an aggressive international strategy. The New York Times Company purchased the 50% of International Herald Tribune that it did not already own from Washington Post Company for roughly US $75 million, after publishing the paper jointly for more than 30 years.
The IHT had a circulation of 264,000 last year (Europe/Middle East/Africa: 175,000, Asia/Pacific: 74,000, Latin America: 15,000). It is printed at 22 plants around the world and distributed in more than 180 countries. Its reader demographics are very desirable; the average household income of its readers is US $164,000.
Since the acquisition, the NYT has moved quickly to integrate the IHT editorial and advertising structures into the domestic paper, putting together ad-sales efforts on both sides of the Atlantic. For its part, The Washington Post unveiled, in January, an agreement with Dow Jones to republish Post stories in overseas editions of The Wall Street Journal.
The New York Times Company’s acquisition of IHT triggered speculation that the NYT will use it as a platform to launch an international edition to compete with the international editions of The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, which are currently published in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Regarding its reader base, the New York Times remains largely a regional newspaper. 71% of its weekday circulation comes from the Northeast and Middle-Atlantic states. However, more than 60% of its advertising revenues in 2002 were derived from the national category. Classified ads represented around 25% and retail the remaining 12%. Full ownership of International Herald Tribune should help to broaden the NYT’s readership and advertising. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., chairman of the New York Times Company, said recently that the company is considering whether to change the IHT’s name. (Possibly to New York Times International?)