New Spanish daily targets Mexicans on both sides of the border

Diario Latino, launched last week in Chula Vista, Calif., is the first Spanish-language daily that targets Mexicans both inside the US and across the border. Additionally, Copley Press's Enlace, a bilingual free weekly published by the San Diego Union Tribune, started a 60,000 copy home delivery program on October 11th.

These new publishing ventures hope to become platforms for advertisers trying to reach Hispanics in San Diego and Tijuana. San Diego County has 859,000 Hispanics. If you add the population of Tijuana, just over the Mexican border, that figure rises to 1.2 million people. “Fifty-five thousand Mexicans cross the border daily to work in San Diego. It's a floating population. They use services in the U.S. even though they live in Mexico,” Alicia Salter Mora, marketing and sales director at Diario Latino, tells Portadatm. Annually, 42% of Tijuana residents cross the border to go shopping in San Diego County. Diario Latino's headquarters are in Chula Vista, Calif., only eight miles from the Mexican border.

Diario Latino, backed by Mexican publisher Healy Media Inc., was launched on October 20th. The 32-page paper runs Monday through Friday, with a daily circulation of 20,000, and costs 25 cents.

Almost a third (30%) of the publication will be in full color – the front and back pages, and four pages in the entertainment section.

Sources at Diario Latino did not want to disclose the amount Healy Media has invested in the publication, but said it was in the “six-figures.”

Diario Latino is the first daily to enter the so-called “borderland publishing” market (see “Mexican publishers expand into the Southwestern United States,” page 1, Portadatm No. 2 March/April 2003). “It's about time that Mexican publishers got into the market,” Salter Mora says. “Diario Latino's goal is to connect Spanish-speaking people, organizations and advertisers with the Latino world,” notes Jose Santiago Healy, President of Healy Media, Inc.

Taste of Mexico

An interesting feature of the new paper is “Sabor Mexicano.” Published every Friday, this section is dedicated to Mexican advertisers (restaurants, hotels etc...) targeting San Diego Hispanics. Diario Latino's sales force is trying to get companies from Baja California (Mexico) to advertise to San Diego County's Hispanics. Annually, Mexican visitors spend $2.8 billion in San Diego.

Diario Latino is distributed heavily in what Southern Californians call “La Linea,” the border zone between Mexico and the US. Out of the 20,000 copies distributed daily, 5,000 are distributed in the border zone, while the remaining 15,000 are distributed in the towns and neighborhoods with the largest Hispanic populations – San Ysidro (pop. 32,000, 75% Hispanic), National City (55,400, 50%), Chula Vista (173,000, 50%) and downtown San Diego (1,200,000, 25%). In a second stage, the daily plans to extend its circulation to Escondido, Oceanside, Vista and San Marcos. The purchasing power of San Diego's Latin community exceeds US $11.2 billion dollars a year, with an average yearly family income of $46,000.

Diario Latino is currently being promoted on the radio, in bus shelters, malls and kiosks, as well as directly to potential readers. “We are doing a sub-launch in the next 60 days,” Salter Mora notes. “And we are planning a full blown campaign for next year.”

Enlace, the bilingual weekly published by Copley Press's San Diego Union Tribune, has a total circulation of 85,000 – 60,000 copies are distributed through the new home delivery program and 25,000 through street and store racks. Enlace is also included in 2,700 copies of The San Diego Union Tribune which are distributed on the Mexican side of the border.

San Diego County has a third major Spanish language newspaper El Latino, a weekly based in Chula Vista, which reports a circulation of 70,500.

Community related content

Diario Latino's editorial team of six journalists will be led by Alejandro Maciel, who previously worked for other large Spanish-language publications including Orange County Excelsior, el Diario/La Prensa and People en español. Some of the content will come from Healy Media's Northeastern Mexican newspapers La Cronica and Frontera in Tijuana, and El Imparcial in Hermosillo. However, most of the content will focus on San Diego County. The newspaper will report on border related issues and incidents (legal and illegal border-crossings), as well as local service-oriented issues. Research shows that unique local content is one of the keys to success in Spanish-language newspaper publishing.

Are national advertisers interested?

National advertisers play an important role in financing San Diego County's Spanish-language publications. Sources at Enlace told Portadatm that their advertising revenue mix is weighted more heavily towards national advertisers (approx. 60%). Enlace's roster of national advertisers include ATT & Wireless, SBC, Nextel, Cingular, Verizon, Banco Popular, Washington Mutual and Wells Fargo. The financial and telecommunications categories are particularly strong. Enlace gets some general market advertising dollars by cross selling ad space through its large sister paper San Diego Union Tribune (Sunday circ. 442,399).

Diario Latino's Salter Mora estimates that around 25% of advertising revenue will come from its national accounts. According to Salter Mora, a daily platform will give national advertisers more exposure.

Diario Latino charges full page CPMs of US $133.65. Salter Mora justifies the high rate by saying that the paper's size – 11” x 15” – is 25% larger than a normal tabloid. In addition, the daily has a package program, which gives a 50% discount to advertisers who buy 50 pages of advertising in the daily. Enlace has an open national advertising rate CPM of US $59.10. This open rate drops to US $52.50 when an advertiser spends US $25,000.

Not enough reach?

A circulation of 20,000 daily or 85,000 weekly might not be enough to attract print media buyers (see “Print media buyers want research, more reach and unique content,” page 1 Portadatm No. 4 July/August 2004). The insufficient auditing of many Spanish-language papers also deters potential buyers. Although Diario Latino is not being audited now, the publication plans to be audited in the near future.

In order to reach more Mexican-Americans and Mexicans in the border zone, the Copley Press Inc., publisher of San Diego Union-Tribune and Enlace, started a direct mail program called “La Bolsa Azul.” A blue polybag containing coupons for restaurants and retail stores in San Diego is delivered every Friday to the doorsteps of 70,000 middle and upper-class homes in Tijuana. “Don't miss these valuable shoppers who have money to spend in San Diego,” claims one of La Bolsa Azul's advertisements. The shopper program charges a CPM of US $39 for a single sheet insertion in the polybag.


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