Subscriber acquisition: National no-call registry no problem for publishers targeting Hispanics

General market newspaper and magazine publishers, which rely heavily on telemarketing for new subscribers and subscription renewals, have suffered circulation losses that many analysts attribute to the national no-call list. As of last October, 65 million consumers had registered to have their names removed from telemarketers' call lists. According to a Newspaper Services of America survey of 265 dailies published last April, 44% of the dailies reported declines in telemarketing sales of 15% or more.

Has this negative trend affected publications targeting Spanish-speaking audiences? Not according to most publishers. Many Hispanic publications, especially newspapers, are free, making subscriber acquisition efforts unnecessary. Those Hispanic pubs that are paid rely mostly on newsstand sales. Denny Penia, circulation director at El Diario/La Prensa, states that out of a paid circulation of approximately 50,000, only 800 are home delivered to subscribers, the rest are newsstand sales. “Telemarketing accounts for a very small part of our subscriber acquisition effort,” says Penia. “We put more emphasis on in-house promotions and billboard campaigns.”

Magazines
Although many Hispanic magazines rely almost entirely on single-copy sales, the three largest publications (People en español, Latina and Selecciones) have more subscribers than single-copy buyers.

Jane Cazzorla, circulation director at Latina magazine, says that Latina does not do a lot of telemarketing. (It outsources the little activity it has to At Dial America.) Most of Latina's efforts are put into a combination of direct mail, insert cards and online subscriber acquisition. “We use telemarketing just for renewals.” Cazzorla adds that calls for renewals are allowed because customers whose subscriptions are expiring are still considered current.

“We've never done much telemarketing,” says Jose Raúl Pérez, consumer marketing director at People en español. According to Pérez, most of People en español's subscriber acquisition efforts consist of direct mail and agent (third-party) sales. Seventy-five percent of People en español's copy sales are to subscribers. Pérez says that “very few Hispanics have signed the do-not call list. They are on fewer lists and receive fewer calls anyway. They might even like to receive calls.” According to research conducted by economist Hal Varian from the University of Berkeley, areas of the U.S. with high proportions of Hispanics and African Americans have fewer people on their do-not-call-lists. “The number of Hispanics is probably lower because they were not as bombarded by calls as the general market consumers,” says Michael Saray, president of Michael Saray Hispanic Marketing.


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