Publishers Work Hard to Keep Up With Latina Moms, Marketers Lag Behind

While publishing giants like Gruner + Jahr USA are announcing millions in cuts due to flat ad pages and ad revenues in their general market publications, parenting magazines, both in the general and Hispanic markets, are doing well. According to Hispanic-Magazine Monitor, Ser Padres(circ. 510,000 BPA audited) had ad revenues of $3,715,200 during the first half of 2004, a year over year increase of 43%, making it number one among Hispanic parenting titles and eighth in the Hispanic magazine market.

And this isn't uncommon among Hispanic parenting mags whose target audience is growing fast – Hispanic births now account for 1 in every 5 – and gaining recognition from advertisers. “Our main challenge has been to hold down circulation,” says Greg Zegras, senior vice president and general manager at ivillage Parenting Network which publishes LaMaze para Padres (circ. 750,000, 2 printings annually). “We've grown about 10% per year. We just have to make sure we don't increase too fast and lose quality.”

New Ad Trends Could Be Good For Print

Sampling programs, like Time Inc.'s First Moments and American Baby's “Nueva para mamas,” lend themselves to the parenting market because they allow companies to get samples and coupons to new moms early. But Georgia Galanoudis, executive director of First Moments, says that although these programs do well with products that are endemic to the market (baby products, toys, etc.), she predicts that this will change as other advertisers – Pharmaceuticals, Automotive, Financial – that don't lend themselves to samples, begin to enter the market. Supporting this trend, two parenting mags were among HispanicMagazineMonitor's top 10 Hispanic magazines ranked by Pharma ad sales in 2002. LaMaze para Padres sold 3 ad pages in 2002 for a total of $81,675 in ad revenues or about 3% of Pharmaceutical advertising in Hispanic mags. During the same period Ser Padres sold 11.83 ad pages, for a total of $455,800 or 15% of Pharma spending in Hispanic print. “Increased interest and ad spending in these categories could make print more viable,” says Galanoudis.

Maybe that's why First Moments, which Time Inc.'s Parenting acquired in 1999, is evaluating the possibility of launching a new print publication targeting U.S. Hispanic moms. “We are combining our knowledge of parenting with People en español's expertise in the Hispanic market to figure out the best way to reach Hispanic moms,” said Galanoudis. “We don't know yet whether it will be paid or controlled circulation, or how many times a year it will come out.” The company will have more concrete information by the first quarter of next year. Galanoudis said that the new pub will not affect Time Inc.'s Parenting Bebé, which continues to be published once a year, but now has a single-advertiser which changes for each issue. Parenting Mexico is no longer being published.

People en español recently partnered with TodoBebé, a multimedia company which hosts one of only a few Hispanic parenting websites, todobebe.com (400,000 visitors/month, 200,000 club members). Through the agreement TodoBebé licenses parenting content to People en español, who will publish in-book advertorials in their magazines. People en español will keep all ad revenues. “A lot of the women who read People en español are also moms, so the magazine [People en español] and its advertisers had a real need to serve that audience better,” said Gillian Sandler, CEO and chairman at TodoBebé. “TodoBebé also had a demand for something on the print side, but we wanted it to be entertaining and exciting, so this was a good fit,” explained Sandler.

Still a Long Way to Go

Jon Andrade, advertising sales director at Gruner + Jahr USA's Ser Padres (circ. 500,000, bimonthly) says that Hispanic parenting mags still have a long way to go in terms of building their advertiser base and increasing the size and frequency of the publications before they would consider paid circulation. Ahu Terzi, advertising director of Meredith's American Baby Group which publishes Espera (circ. 757, 945, Spring and Fall editions), Primeros 12 meses (circ. 508, 660, 2 printings/year), and Healthy kids en espanol (circ. 504, 673, quarterly), echoes his statement. “Hispanic parenting mags are between 36-80 pages and come out between 1 and 6 times per year, while general market parenting mags are 200-300 pages and are usually monthly.” In the general market the top performing parenting mag, Meredith's American Baby (circ. 2,000,000, 75% paid, 10% OBgyn, 15% Toys R'us) had 161.73 ad pages and total ad revenues of $21,673,659 as of the first quarter of 2004.

Greg Zegras said he tested LaMaze para Padres (circ. 750,000), an educational magazine on LaMaze and natural childbirth, on the newsstands last year. The magazine was sold with a polybag containing products and samples and cost just under $3.00. “We did well enough that I am willing to try it again,” said Zegras who did not want to disclose details on newsstand sell through.

Besides the typical distribution vehicles for Hispanic parenting mags, Ser Padres also has an exclusive deal with McDonald's. Ser Padres is the only Hispanic parenting mag you'll find on McDonald's counters across the country. In return, Ser Padres does not accept advertising from any other fast food restaurants. American Baby Group's sampling program offers a good distribution vehicle for Primeros 12 meses, which is distributed by maternity ward nurses along with samples and coupons to 600,000 new moms in the hospitals where they give birth.

Who's Advertising?

“Right now, Procter and Gamble – who is supporting the majority of print publications targeting Hispanic moms – is our biggest advertiser,” says American Baby Group's Ahu Terzi. In the first six months of 2004, Procter and Gamble spent more than $1 million in print ads targeting Hispanic moms, over $300,000 more than their closest competitor, Johnson & Johnson. And according to “The Hispanic Mom Report,” conducted by Silver Stork Research and consumer goods research company Packaged Facts, the investment has paid off. Hispanic moms surveyed recognized and trusted Procter and Gamble products more than other baby products on the market.

And Who Isn't?

“It's not the 1st tier advertisers that need to be convinced,” says Zegras. “It's the 2nd and 3rd tier that we're trying to get.” Andrade agrees that there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of convincing advertisers of the viability of Hispanic print. “There are so many companies that still aren't advertising. I'd love to crack the financial category. We started a new section called “Money Talk” because we realized that Hispanic parents wanted more information on financial planning. This is a great opportunity for advertisers.” Even in the automotive category, where Ser Padres leads the way in terms of number of advertisers, Andrade sees potential for growth. “We have a lot of the American companies, because they've been edged out of the general market by the Japanese. We need to get the Japanese manufacturers.” Sira Galan, media supervisor at Miami-based Zubi Advertising, which handles the Ford account, says that Ford chooses a different parenting magazine each year and runs ads once or twice a year. “They're our only client who has an ongoing commitment to the market,” says Galan. “Others might advertise sporadically.”

What's on the Horizon, Nationally...

TodoBebé, which has expanded into radio and now an internationally syndicated TV show which will air on Telemundo this fall, announced that it will conduct TodoBebé Baby Fairs at Wal-Mart Supercenters in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Houston and Miami beginning in September. TodoBebé will promote the events, sponsored by Wal-Mart, AOL, and Ford Motors, via its partnership with People en español, and through an advertising, direct marketing, and public relations campaign. A variety of consumer product companies will sponsor different areas at the fairs. TodoBebé expects more than 40,000 parents and babies to attend. The American Baby Group also does grassroots marketing through their Baby Faire events which are held in Chicago, Miami and Dallas and attract 100,000 parents annually.

...and Locally?

This October, Padres Inc. an independent publishing company based in Queens, New York plans to launch a new Hispanic magazine specifically targeting Latino parents who live in New York City. Initially, the free publication, which has yet to be officially named, will have a circulation of 20,000 copies distributed via schools, libraries, doctors' offices, restaurants, stores and community centers in Queens' neighborhoods with large Hispanic populations. The publication, written mainly in Spanish with English summaries, is meant to help Latino parents take advantage of resources and services unique to NYC. “Eventually, we hope to be able to take this model and customize it for other cities throughout the U.S.,” explained creative director and publisher Lesley Figueroa-Oviedo. Local parenting mags targeting the general market do well in New York City. Family Communications publishes Big Apple, Queens, Brooklyn and Westchester Parent, which have a combined circulation of 500,000 in and around NYC. Padres Inc.'s new pub is supported entirely by local advertisers including yoga studios and gyms, non-profits like Single Parent Resource and Accion, Famous Brand retail store, and Sony Wonder museum, as well as local lawyers and nursery schools.

Carrie Barnes


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