American Media and Latin WE ink deal with panregional ambitions

American Media's recently created AMI Latino Magazine Group signed an agreement with talent agency, Latin World Entertainment (Latin WE). to publish paperbacks, hard-cover books and magazines featuring celebrities represented by Latin World. The publications will be distributed in the U.S. Hispanic Market, Mexico and other parts of Latin America. The first project, a soft-cover book featuring celebrities' stories and paparazzi photos of Raul de Molina, star and host of Univision's “El Gordo y la Flaca,” will come out in the fourth quarter of this year, revealing celebrity secrets not aired on the TV show. Latin World represents such Latino stars as Sofia Vergara, Ana Maria Orozco, Myrka Dellanos and Raul de Molina.

American Media publishes a wide variety of newsstand specials (e.g. about the September 11th events) in English, but this will be the company's first venture in the Spanish market.

Celebrity publishing

A strong Hispanic following make Latin celebrities, particularly singers, big business in the US. Latino music had an annual sales volume of US $642.6 million in 2001.

Founded in 1997, by Spanish entrepreneur Luis Balaguer, Latin WE represents 200 Hispanic cinema, music and television stars, and has worldwide marketing rights, excluding Mexico, to all Televisa talent. It also represents the stars on almost every Univision Network program. Latin WE recently signed an agreement with Mexico's Televisa and Spain's Plural Entertainment (owned by Grupo Prisa) to form a distribution company for Spanish movies in the US. The group will own distribution rights to Televisa and Grupo Prisa audiovisual content. Both groups have strong print media distribution networks in Spain and Latin America, which, in the future, could be used to market the newsstand celebrity specials produced by the AMI Latino Magazine Group-Latin WE partnership.

Flexing the muscle

AMI Latino Magazine Group's US and Canadian retail distribution network for its supermarket tabloids (see “Is American Media in proper Shape to reach the Hispanic market?” page 1, Portadatm No. 2 March/April 2003) was a key element in the Latin WE deal. “It will allow us to quickly and successfully bring our new titles to market,” Luis Balaguer, Latin World Entertainment's president, told The Miami Herald. Hispanics tend to buy their publications at newsstands and other retail outlets. “We know how to sell magazines on the newsstand, and we feel it's a successful formula,” Dalia Sánchez, vice president and editorial director for the Latino Magazine Group told Portadatm. Of course, American Media's competition has not stood still. Samir Husni, a professor of magazine journalism at the University of Mississippi, notes that there are five or six Spanish-language publications on the magazine rack at the Wal-Mart in his town of Oxford, (Miss., pop. 10,000). “Three years ago you would not have found a single one,” he recently told the Westchester Journal News (NY).

Fuller in charge

Bonnie Fuller was named executive vice president and chief editorial director of American Media. She will oversee AMI's Consumer Magazine Division, which includes the new AMI Latino Magazine Group (newsstand specials, Mira! and the soon-to-be launched Shape En Español and Men's Fitness En Español). Donna Hernandez, previously chief of reporters at People en español, was named editor of Shape En Español, a Spanish language spin-off of AMI's Shape fitness title. The monthly mag will debut in October, with a newsstand distribution of 300,000 copies. The premiere issue will feature an exclusive interview with Latino superstar Thalia. The editorial staff for Shape en Español and the upcoming Spanish-language version of Men's Fitness will work out of AMI's New York office. Mira!, the Spanish-language entertainment magazine, based in Boca, moved its editorial staff to AMI's Manhattan offices in August.


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