Miami: Publishing for the Latin Tower of Babel

July 1, 2003:
Market profile Miami: Publishing for the Latin Tower of Babel

Miami, more than any other US Hispanic media market, represents a cross-section of Latin America. South Florida is home to Hispanics of all income levels, and from every country in Latin America, from Cuba to Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua. “El Nuevo Herald must meet the needs of the most diverse Hispanic population in the U.S.,” says Kristina Corrales, business development manager, at El Nuevo Herald. The majority of Miami's Hispanics are Cuban. However, according to Strategy Research Corp., in 1998 Cubans only made up 59% of the Hispanic population. In 2000, that percentage had fallen to 51%. Advertisers are also keeping track of the growth dynamic of the Hispanic population – the total Hispanic population of the market grows about 50 percent faster than the general population.

The market volume of print media advertising in publications exclusively targeted to Hispanics was approximately US $42 million in 2002, according to an estimate by El Nuevo Herald. However, the dollar amount of all print media advertising targeting Hispanic consumers is much higher. Most of Miami's citizens are Hispanic – Miami-Dade's Hispanics make up 57% percent of the county's 2.1 million residents. Accordingly, a large part of South Florida newspaper advertising buys (local sales for 2000 were US $504 million according to Strategy Research Corp.) are spent on ads targeting Hispanic consumers.

Miami's print media advertising market is growing. Knight Ridder, the publisher of The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, recently noted that, in May, advertising revenue for its Miami papers increased by 4.3% year on year, while overall advertising revenues of Knight Ridder's newspapers fell by 0.4%. Strong national advertising categories in the Miami Hispanic market were telecom (AT&T Wireless and Verizon) and automotive (Lexus, BMW, Toyota). Airlines and cruise lines also advertised in Diario de las Americas (published by The Americas Publishing Company) and El Nuevo Herald, Miami's two Hispanic dailies. Other companies with sizable print media budgets that are targeting Spanish-speaking audiences in Miami are Brandsmart, Macy's, Bloomingdale's, JC Penney and K-Mart. South Florida's tradition as a vacation spot for wealthy Latin American and US citizens makes real estate development ads and condo sales (classified ads) particularly lucrative.

Publishers sometimes compete with company circulars targeting Latinos such as K-mart's publication La Vida, which was launched last September and is heavily distributed in South Florida.

The power of supplements

The heterogeneous Latino population is targeted by a myriad of publications, mostly weeklies and monthlies, which try to appeal to the diverse national and ethnic characteristics of each group. Special supplements published by Diario de las Americas and El Nuevo Herald compete for a substantial share of the money advertisers spend to target specific nationalities. “We publish country or topic specific Special Sections such as Cuba Independence, Colombia, Carnaval Miami (Calle 8), Dominican Republic, Back to School, Hispanic Heritage, bridal issues, El Immigrante en español (The Immigrant in Spanish),” explains El Nuevo Herald's Corrales. Every Friday, Diario Las Americas publishes La Revista del Diario (circ. 109,000).

Interestingly, Diario Las Americas has more women readers -56% of its readers are women- than El Nuevo Herald (51%). Luxury advertisers, targeting the Latin American and US Hispanic elite, also have quite a few print media platforms to choose from (see “Wealthy Floridians, a tantalizing audience for Latin American and US Publishers,” page 12, Portadatm No. 3 May/June 2003).

A challenging task

Publishing a newspaper specifically targeting Miami's Hispanics can be a financial challenge. The Miami Herald Publishing Company, owned by Knight Ridder, has made no less than three forays into Spanish-language journalism. The first, in 1963, only lasted 6 months. It was a one-page insert called The Miami Herald en Español that appeared in The Miami Herald three times a week. On March 30, 1976, The Miami Herald launched a Spanish-language supplement called El Miami Herald. It was mostly a translation of the English paper. Finally, on Nov. 21, 1987 the Herald succeeded in launching a full-fledged independent Hispanic newspaper, El Nuevo Herald.

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