New times for Tiempos del Mundo?

Tiempos del Mundo (TDM), a panregional newspaper published by News World Communications Inc., is undergoing major changes as part of a new plan announced by the company in early May (for a related story see page 3 of this issue). The Washington based company owned by Rev. Moon's Unification Church will put more resources into TDM editions in Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Central America (Costa Rica) and possibly Puerto Rico.

“We are shifting our focus to put more emphasis on marketing and advertising,” Bill Cook, TDM´s marketing director and Central American regional manager, tells Portada®. Cook, who acknowledges that advertising sales have been weak for the past few years, says that TDM plans to concentrate on attracting panregional advertisers, particularly U.S. based multinational companies interested in reaching an affluent Latin American audience. To accomplish this, TDM will divide its advertising sales efforts into five regions (the U.S., Mexico, Central America & Caribbean, Andean Zone and Southern Cone). In the last few months, the Miami and Washington editions have lead in advertising revenues, followed by the Colombian and Peruvian editions.

The panregional approach is also used by Latin American-oriented business and finance titles such as America Economía (America Economía Inc., circ. 120,000, biweekly in Spanish and Portuguese), Estrategia & Negocios (Red Castle Group, circ. 55,000, monthly), Latin Trade (Latin America Media Management LLC, circ. 91,000, monthly, Spanish, English and Portuguese editions), Latin Finance (Euromoney PLC, circ. 32,000, monthly, English) and Harvard Business Review Latin America (Impact Media, circ. 55,000, monthly, Spanish).

TDM's circulation database will be centralized in Miami. Paid circulation is currently 35,000, controlled circulation is 38,000 (full page color panregional US $6,500, CPM US $89). Running the circulation department out of Miami will enable the weekly to do an ABC audit, which requires that a publication be based in the U.S. TDM has a surprisingly high subscriber base in Colombia (close to 15,000), followed by the U.S., Mexico, Argentina, Ecuador and Uruguay.

...Changes on the editorial side...

Alvaro Valderrama, Washington based managing editor of TDM since September 2003, tells Portada®, that the editorial section of the weekly is undergoing a broad restructuring process. “Until last fall, the publication was published mostly out of Argentina. Each of the 16 countries where TDM is published added 4 to12 pages of its own local content.” According to Valderrama, the paper was “Argentinized.” Advertising sales in the panregional edition were also low. A recent reader survey conducted for TDM by Strategy Research Corporation showed that readers prefer panregional content.

“We are taking a much more ‘hemispheric' approach,” says Valderrama. “We want to make the newspaper more about topics than about regions. Under the new structure, some sections of our weekly newspaper are produced in specific countries [“Economía, Ciencia y Tecnología” in Chile, “Familia y Fé” in Colombia, “Deportes” in Uruguay, “Cultura” in Miami, “Hemisferio-Países” in Washington and “Investigaciones Especiales” in Costa Rica]. The New York offices have been closed. We still have local newsrooms in 16 countries, which produce 4-8 local pages, but now at least 90% of the publication is the same all over.” In addition, the weekly focuses on a particular region each week.

...Crucial summer

This summer, the board of News World Communications will look over proposals put forward by TDM main managers regarding changes to the editorial and advertising departments. Some of the main issues to be decided include a proposal to publish the weekly three times a month as a newspaper (current format) and once a month as a magazine. A decision is also expected regarding the newspaper's distribution method. TDM is currently testing out free rack distribution in Washington. One of the alternatives it is considering is a panregional free distribution model.


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