Condé Nast Shifts Focus To Latin America

Condé Nast International announced plans to discontinue the publication of Vogue en español (U.S. Hispanic circulation 24,900) and Glamour en español (U.S. Hispanic circulation 85,000) as of May. Instead, Mexican editions of the women's titles will be distributed in the U.S. and Latin American markets.

The discontinuation of the two magazines marks the last of the nine Spanish-language titles published under license agreements by the former Miami-based Ideas Publishing Group (see “Condé Nast to launch new brand extensions and stand-alone mags,” page 1, Portada® No 7, January/February 2004).

Condé Nast discontinued Architectural Digest en español late last year and now distributes the Mexican edition in North America. Of the six other IPG titles, Editorial Via Satelite, a Mexican publisher, bought the “en español” rights to Newsweek and Motor Trend, distributing them primarily in Mexico. According to Carlos Pelay, president of Media Economics Group in Fort Lauderdale, which tracks Hispanic magazines, the Spanish-language editions of Discover and Teen have also folded. American Media snapped up Men's Fitness en español, publishing it in tandem with the English-language edition. Editorial Televisa took over Prevention en español and relaunched it last February.

According to company spokeswoman Maurie Perl, Condé Nast's Miami office, which publishes the magazines for the US Hispanic market, will be reduced to a small advertising sales and editorial staff, and the bulk of the operation will move to Mexico City. Perl would not give exact numbers, but said that the move will cause some layoffs. “We're now making Mexico City the headquarters for our Mexican, as well as our Latin American operations,” said Perl.

Condé Nast says the move will enable the company to focus on the Mexican market, which Perl emphasizes makes up about two-thirds of U.S. Hispanic population. Editions sold in other parts of Latin America will have some content tailored to the specific countries where they are distributed, Perl said.

Condé Nast International chairman Jonathan Newhouse shed more light on the company's strategy for Latin America. “Condé Nast's worldwide strategy is built around country-based markets, such as Britain or Italy,” Newhouse explained in a written statement. “It makes sense to concentrate on Mexico, which is the largest Spanish-speaking country in Latin America and undergoing explosive growth. The U.S. Latino market is a well-noted phenomenon, but as an ethnic market within the larger U.S. market, it does not conform to our marketing strategy elsewhere. We want to focus on what we know best.”

A look at the aggregate circulation of Condé Nast Americas' Glamour en español, Vogue en español and Architectural Digest en español reveals that only 14% of the publications' combined circulation is in the U.S. – 20% including the 6% distributed in Puerto Rico. The rest are distributed in Latin America. Mexico accounts for 32% of the aggregate circulation, followed by Venezuela (12.4%) and Colombia (10.6%).

Counter Trend

Condé Nast's new strategy runs counter to the strong growth trend being experienced by Latino magazines in the U.S. Hispanic market. “It's a surprising move,” said Carlos Pelay, president of Media Economics Group. “Many other companies are deciding to make bigger commitments to the U.S. Hispanic market.” ESPN Deportes and Sports Illustrated recently announced plans to launch Spanish-language magazines.

According to recently released ABC figures for the second half of 2004, three Hispanic magazines published by Editorial Televisa (Cosmopolitan en español, Vanidades and Tv y Novelas) were among the top ten gainers in paid circulation growth among U.S. magazines overall. Editorial Televisa's Cosmopolitan en español led the list of U.S. magazines whose paid circulation grew the most during the second half of 2004. It grew to 124,934, an increase of 132.7% (compared to the same period of 2003).


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