New dailies, Hispanic newspaper launches: What has been learned so far?

The number of Spanish-language dailies in the U.S. nearly doubled last year, going from six to eleven newspapers. The trend continues with the imminent launch of Hoy Los Ángeles and other new ventures in the southwestern United States. Among the major newcomers to the print media scene were El Nuevo Día Orlando, Hoy-Chicago, Diario La Estrella, Al Día and Diario Latino. What experiences and lessons can advertisers and publishers draw from these young ventures? Portadatm sent questionnaires to the executives responsible for the newly launched publications. This is what they had to say.

Question: What kind of reception has your newspaper received from advertisers?

Javier Aldape (Publisher, Diario La Estrella, Knight Ridder): “We've seen significant growth in all categories, particularly with local and regional advertisers that have been looking for an effective way to reach Latinos through print advertising.”

Alicia Salter Mora (sales and marketing director, Diario Latino, Healy Media): “As a new publication we are building new relationships and partnerships with advertisers that want something different to break through the present media clutter. The category that is growing steadily is automotive, through our dedicated Friday supplement Al Volante.”

Digby A. Solomon Diez (vice president and general manager, Hoy-Chicago, Tribune): “We've had tremendous support from advertisers for a paid, ABC-audited daily newspaper. Hoy's Chicago edition has been selling in the double digits, above what we had planned for our first four months. The advertising gains have been across the board, with automotive, retail inserts and the financial categories all registering strong gains.”

Jaime Segura (general manager, El Nuevo Día Orlando, Ferré Rangel Group): “The reception has been consistent with our expectations. We are beginning to receive more insertion from medium sized advertisers, as the publication has more time circulating. The retail industry is the category that we are seeing as the big opportunity for the middle of next year.”

Mike Cano (general manager, Al Día, Belo): “We received a strong reception from advertisers. Many in fact, including prominent national advertisers like Bank of America, Chevrolet, Comcast, Hennessy, and Staples, signed on before we even published the first edition, thanks to the strong reputation for quality of The Dallas Morning News. Although there are growth opportunities across the board, we see a lot of activity in local retail, automotive, and classified, as well an increase in national advertising.”

Q: If you were going to launch your daily again, what would you do differently?

Javier Aldape (Diario La Estrella): “I might have given us a bit more time. But seriously, we had an extremely smooth transition in all departments.”

Alicia Salter Mora (Diario Latino): “Plan a crucial timeframe prior to the launch and pre-build a solid involvement with the community at large in order to better serve our people.”

Digby A. Solomon Diez (Hoy-Chicago): “Things are going so well it's hard to say what I would do differently.”

Jaime Segura (El Nuevo Dia Orlando): “Start with home delivery from day one. Even though we knew about the importance of home delivery, we learned that it is almost imperative to grow to the desired levels. The geography of the area makes it important for us to deliver newspapers and not force people to go to the outlets everyday. We started two weeks ago and the response has been very good.”

Q: Have there been developments that you did not expect before the launch?

Javier Aldape (Diario La Estrella): “Few — mainly related to the reach and interest in the paper. Wee've received calls from people outside our circulation area, in some cases many miles outside, requesting delivery.”

Alicia Salter Mora (Diario Latino): “The great accep-tance since the first day. Latino readers in San Diego feel proud to have a unique Spanish-language daily in the region. We get many comments indicating that it was about time. Hispanics didn't have fresh morning news to read in this region.”

Digby A. Solomon Diez (Hoy-Chicago): “We were surprised at how quickly consumer awareness of the product was established. Growing a brand in a new marketplace, the experts will tell you, is usually a slow and difficult process. But – in part, due to the overwhelming local coverage we received, and in part because the market was so hungry for a daily newspaper – we had incredible awareness before the end of our launch month.”

Q: What is the breakdown of national/local advertising?

Javier Aldape (Diario La Estrella): “We don't break down advertising by revenue, but as with many Spanish-language dailies, a significant portion of our revenue comes from national and major accounts. Local advertising is seeing strong growth. Also, we have the only daily classified section in the market that is predominantly Spanish. It is a stand-alone section in every edition.”

Digby A. Solomon Diez (Hoy-Chicago): “We break our revenue out somewhat differently. About 45% of our revenue is local retail, another 34% is classified, which includes some national accounts, and 20% is national display and insert.”

Mike Cano (Al Día): “For 2003, much of our advertising is local. We expect to grow in all categories in 2004 including national, retail, recruitment and real estate.”

Q: What targets/goals do you have for 2004 in terms of circulation growth? Advertising revenue growth? Other?

Javier Aldape (Diario La Estrella): “We've already seen strong circulation growth, particularly with our Sat/Sun edition. We expect to continue to grow circulation throughout 2004, and will also focus some efforts on offering home delivery and/or racks in outlying areas. As for advertising revenue, we will continue to work closely with advertisers, but we've set measured goals for ourselves. Our paper, which currently averages about 36 pages a day, will continue to expand. As part of that budgeting, we are also planning new content features for 2004.”

Alicia Salter Mora (Diario Latino): “Our second phase will include added circulation in the northern part of San Diego>County (Escondido, Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos), where there is steady Hispanic population growth. Our goal is a circulation of 30,000 copies daily in 2004. We are also targeting Mexico's advertisers with the section Sabor a Mexico, which offers a premium platform to advertise on both sides of the busiest border in the world.”

Digby A. Solomon Diez (Hoy-Chicago): “We expect revenue to increase by more than 30% and circulation to reach 30,000 average paid daily by September 2004.”

Mike Cano (Al Día): “For 2004, we expect to exceed our revenue and circulation goals. We are currently on track to greatly exceed our home and single copy circulation goals.”

Q: Do you worry that as Spanish-dominant Hispanics get acculturated you will lose readers to English-language papers?

Javier Aldape (Diario La Estrella): “Not at all. Increasingly, the overwhelming majority of Latinos live in a bilingual world, switching between languages when speaking, watching television and listening to the radio. Reading a newspaper can be much the same — and our responsibility and challenge is to publish a relevant, useful newspaper that will continue to atttract Latinos, regardless of their acculturation levels. We do that at Diario La Estrella by focusing on our community, and providing them with significant and vital information.”

Alicia Salter Mora (Diario Latino): “Definitely not. There is always a segment of the population who needs and prefers to get information in Spanish to make educated

decisions for themselves and their families. In addition we believe that migration from Latin America to the USA will continue steadily.”

Digby A. Solomon Diez (Hoy-Chicago): “With the constant influx of new Hispanic immigrants, our readership base will continue to replace itself. But as our current base of readers, particularly their children, acculturates, we have plans to steer them over to our company's other general market products, such as the Chicago Tribune.”

Jaime Segura (El Nuevo Dia Orlando): “No. The number of immigrants entering the country every year, including those from Puerto Rico, is impressive. That gives you enough readers to maintain good circulation levels and be a successful publication.”

Mike Cano (Al Día): “We are not only language driven but content driven. Al Dia has the largest team of reporters and editors of any Spanish-language newspaper in the Southwest. Every day, Al Dia offers unique local stories and information that are not covered in any other media. This content, as well as coverage on health, education, family, entertainment, homes, automotive, and an extensive daily classified section, is critical in helping to improve the quality of life for our community. As long as we keep the interests of the Hispanic community front and center, we will continue to grow.”


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