Publishers Launch New Hispanic Publications to Counter Circulation Slides

The Denver Post reported that the Denver Newspaper Agency, publisher of The Denver Post (Media News Group) and Rocky Mountain News (E. W. Scripps), is developing a weekly publication that targets Colorado's Latino community. Due to substantial circulation declines (see box below), both newspapers are beginning to cater to niche audiences in an attempt to gain new readers.

There are almost 600,000 Hispanics living in the Denver DMA – about one fifth of the total population. Between 1990 and 2000 Denver's Latino population grew by 89%.

Print advertising accounts for a very small proportion of Denver's Hispanic advertising, and the Denver Newspaper Agency is betting that the market can support more. Interestingly, in Denver's general ad market, newspapers account for 60% of total ad expenditures, an unusually high share for print media.

How Much Goes to Hispanic Print Advertising in Denver?

In January 2004, CMR began tracking ad revenues for two Denver Hispanic weeklies – La Voz (circ. 24,000, CAC, bilingual) and El Hispano. During the first four months of the year, the papers had combined advertising revenues of US $450,000 (La Voz, US $232,760 and El Hispano 217,490).

In 2003, total advertising expenditures for the Denver DMA were approximately US $1 billion. Assuming a Hispanic market share of 3.5% of total advertising, ad expenditures for Hispanic advertising would have been US $35 million.

According to bottom-up and top-down estimates done by Portada®, the Denver Hispanic newspaper ad market has a volume of between US $2.6 and $4.2 million. National advertising accounts for approximately 40% of these amounts.

According to the 2002 Ad Audit, cities with at least one Hispanic daily, including Los Angeles (La Opinion and Hoy-Los Angeles, print accounts for 18% of the LA Hispanic ad market), New York City (Hoy and el diario-La Prensa, print accounts for19%) and Miami (El Nuevo Herald and Diario Las Americas, 19%), had a higher share of print advertising than cities without a Hispanic daily like Dallas-Fort Worth (12%, Al Dia and Diario La Estrella were launched in 2003).

Detroit too?

A source at Detroit Newspapers, a Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) between Detroit Free Press (Knight Ridder) and Detroit News (Gannett), told Portada® that they are considering the viability of niche publications targeting Hispanics. Both newspapers have had circulation declines in the last year. Although Detroit's Hispanic population is small (3% of total pop. in the 2000 census), it is growing fast.

El Central (weekly, circ. 14,000, bilingual) and Latino Press (weekly, circ. 11,362, CVC audit, Spanish) are the main independent Hispanic newspapers in the Detroit DMA.

Hispanic Publishers Concerned About New Launches By JOAs

The potential development of new media products through Joint Operating Agreements (JOAs) such as the Denver Newspaper Agency (DNA) and Detroit Newspapers has raised eyebrows among some Hispanic newspaper publishers in Denver and Detroit. JOAs maintain competing newsrooms while they combine such functions as advertising, circulation and printing. The 1970 Newspaper Preservation Act, which was established in order to preserve independent editorial voices, legalized these deals as special exemptions to antitrust laws that ordinarily prohibit such cooperation between competitors. JOAs exist in 12 U.S. cities – Denver, Detroit, Albuquerque (NM), Birmingham (AL), Charleston (VA), Cincinnati (CL), Fort Wayne (IN), Salt Lake City (UT), Las Vegas, (NE), Tucson, (AZ), York (PA) and Seattle (WA).

JOAs cannot launch a third daily paper, but they can launch new products and publications targeting specific markets. “It's a little bit unfair. Look at all the resources the DNA has,” Wanda Padilla, publisher of Denver's La Voz, told The Denver Post. “We wouldn't welcome them,” she added. “Unless they wanted to work together on a joint venture.” A couple of months ago, La Voz approached the DNA about such a partnership.

Prior to the JOA, established in 2001, Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post each tried to launch Hispanic publications and failed. Padilla doesn't like the idea of the two papers using their combined profits to try again.

The Denver Post already partners with the Denver Hispanic weekly El Semanario (circ. 18,000, bilingual). Since 1992, El Semanario has been tucked inside newsstand copies of the Denver Post in select neighborhoods.

The Denver Newspaper Agency also partners with El Semanario to promote bilingual education. El Semanario is delivered free to teachers in Denver schools along with a 2- day subscription to The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News.


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