Hispanic newspaper launches since 2003: A review

Dozens of newspapers targeting Spanish-speaking audiences were launched in the last two and a half years. Some backed by independent entrepreneurs, others by general market newspaper chanes and, yet others, by international and private equity investors. There are similarities between some of these publications. Digby Solomon Diez, publisher and CEO of Hoy, notes that “the Chicago edition of Hoy and Diario La Estrella in Dallas were launched on the same day, Sept. 2. 2003. In some ways, they were very similar -- both were the first Spanish-language dailies in the market, both grew from established, successful weekly products. Aside from that, the markets are also somewhat similar, in terms of population and nationality. Now almost two years since their launch, both are dailies that have attracted a tremendous amount of new readers -- that's a great success story for any newspaper.”

There is more to come the publishers of these newspapers explain to Portada®. This is what they have to say.

The importance of building relationships…

Many publishers agree that building a relationship with the Hispanic community was one of the most important aspects of the launch of their publications. “After almost two years, we really know our community and care about them. But knowing the community and being well accepted took us time”, says Jaime Segura of El Nuevo Día Orlando.

“The Hispanic market is a loyal market. Readership is built through relationships. Our success is due to the fact that we built relationships with the community before launching. The paper is their paper not a translation from the daily. Cox Newspapers understands this.”, says Joyce Sullivan, general manager of Palm Beach, FL, based La Palma, launched in February 2004 by The Palm Beach Post, a daily owned by Cox Newspapers.

…and good staffs
A publication can only be as good as the people who work in it. To have a good staff is crucial. Robert Madero and Kerry Slagle of Fronteras, a newspaper inserted in many publications nationwide, note that “what we didn't realize is how difficult it would be to build local staffs that understood why our product was effective and then be able to translate this concept to their advertisers. We don't build publications from scratch, we partner with existing ones and we had assumed that the country was as well versed as we were in the size of this opportunity. What we are finding is that people are only now beginning to wake up to it and that we need to be more involved in the entire process, not just the creation of the product.”

To Jaime Segura of El Nuevo Día Orlando “one of the keys for our success has been our employees.” Edward Schumacher-Matos CEO of Meximerica Media, publisher of Rumbo, says that on the editorial side, he has been careful to look for, attract, hire (and now retain!) “the most talented journalists and designers from Mexico, Latin America and the U.S. Many come from the top journalism schools in the country--Columbia University and the University of Missouri”.

What would they have done differently

The launch of a publication can be planned months or years in advance, but there are always opportunities to fine-tune the strategy. Now 3 years after many of these Hispanic newspapers were launched, some publishers acknowledge that they would have done some of the things differently. Digby Solomon Diez, publisher and CEO of Tribune Corp's Hoy, says that he would have published the Chicago and Los Angeles dailies “as free newspapers from the first day.” Jaime Segura, publisher of El Nuevo Dia Orlando, says that he would have liked to have more time before launching. “In our case, we had just 3 months to put everything together, and that was from setting up the whole infrastructure (building, computer systems, etc.) to the recruiting of all the staff.” He adds that he would have liked to home-deliver his daily newspaper from the beginning and not start 6 months after the launch”.

“We probably would have accelerated hiring timelines, as recruiting is challenging, and may involve legal processes to obtain visas”, says Amy Hinojosa, Marketing and Circulation Director of Dallas/Ft. Worth's Al Dia. “We wouldn't place coin boxes with electronic mechanisms because they are not reliable.”, says Rumbo's Schumacher-Matos.

On the advertising side there are also interesting lessons to be learned. Sami Haiman Ad-sales Manager of the New York Post-Tempo, a monthly supplement to the New York Post, launched in the fall of 2003, notes that she now realizes “that some Hispanic agencies are not acting upon the recent Hispanic market trend that allows for segmentation based on language preference.” “Had we known how much resistance we were going to have at the Hispanic agency level when we tried to work on advertising and promotional opportunities with them, we would have gone straight to the client from the get-go.”, Haiman concludes.

Bringing more awareness to the paper in the community where New York's weekly Hora Hispana is distributed is something Rudy Zaccagno, Retail Advertising and Business Manager at the Daily News, would have liked to do more before the launch of Hora Hispana in the fall of 2004. Sergio Salinas, general manager at Hearst's Conexi ón, a bilingual weekly launched in the Spring of 2004 in San Antonio, also thinks that “a higher profile marketing campaign would have been more beneficial.”

Plans…

It is well known that most publications only reach profitability after their fourth or fifth year of publication. What are publishers intending to do to reach that goal? “We will continue to invest in and build readership in our three current markets -- NY, LA and CHI. Like any company, we are also assessing future opportunities, whether they be with another edition of the daily, or perhaps expanding our Fin de Semana edition,” says Hoy's Solomon Diez.

Other publishers aim to build a network of publications in order to attract national advertisers. Kent Kirschner of Fronteras says that “we are setting the structure in place where we can build a national ad sales force that will sell across the network. We are also building on our offer by creating new niche weekly products with different content focuses and can now offer full entertainment and sports tabloids on a weekly basis”, Kirschner concludes. To expand into new markets is also an objective for El Nuevo Dia Orlando's Segura, “Our future plans include the Tampa Market. In terms of our plans for Central Florida for 2005 and 2006, we will be launching new sections and special supplements, as well as new events for the community and charities.” The Texan Rumbo newspaper network plans to continue building ad revenues and syndicated products in 2005. In 2006 it will study expansion plans to other markets.

…and the Internet.

Most of the publishers also plan to expand their Internet presence with additional content and services for readers and advertisers. Ricardo Cabrera, Advertising Sales Director at 7 Dias and La Guía, the Floridian magazine, notes that he plans to expand these publications Internet presence. “We plan to run 24 hour news updates in our website.” So does El Nuevo Dia Orlando, which plans to launch a new website during the last quarter of 2005.

Is print getting share from TV?

Has print increased its share vs. broadcast media in terms of advertising and audience share after the arrival of so many new publications? Obviously when a newspaper is launched where there were no readers suddenly there are thousands of them. “There is an average of 125,000 newspaper that are being sold every week. Two years ago that amount was -0-.”, says Jaime Segura, publisher of El Nuevo Dia Orlando. The increase in Spanish-language publications should have a positive impact on the reading habits of Hispanics. “We have data showing that from 2000-2004 Spanish-language material circulation has nearly doubled in the San Antonio and Austin public libraries,” notes Schumacher Matos of Rumbo.

To Hoy's publisher Solomon Diez “to draw a direct comparison between TV and print almost suggests a zero-sum game, that you have to give up one to enjoy the other. The fact is, our competition is not other media so much as it is time. What our readership figures and our national proprietary survey both show is that we have greatly expanded the universe of readers in our markets -- more people read newspapers than before we launched.”

Kent Kirschner of Fronteras seems to agree with Solomon Diez: “Our goal is not to compete with television but rather to compete with a vacuum. That newspapers and TV compete for ad dollars doesn't mean that they compete for audiences, they serve different needs. This is especially the case when you consider a weekly publication. It will offer stories and investigations that the reader is able to read when they have the time and in places where you don't have a TV to watch. TV is very expensive for some local advertisers and doesn't allow them to create the kind of bond with a consumer that print can.”

To NYP-Tempo's Haiman print has many advantages over TV. “Print becomes a very powerful medium when trying to reach consumers with higher household incomes because the more upwardly mobile a person becomes the higher his/her consumption of print.”, Haiman notes. She adds that “consumption of TV doesn't diminish, print just becomes a big player in the day-to-day media consumption habits of people as they become more affluent. A recent study conducted by Horowitz Associates on media consumption habits amongst Hispanics indicates that bilingual/English-dominant Latinosconsume more varied media, much more print and have double the HHI than their Spanish-dominant counterparts.”

Recent launches start to attract national advertisers

Newspaper

Share of national advertising in ad revenues

Main categories

Al Día (Dallas/Ft. Worth, Belo Corp, Spanish-language, daily, circ. avg. 34,000)

NA

American Airlines, AT&T Wireless, Bank of America, Bank One, Chase Bank, Circuit City, Disney, ESPN-Deportes, Home Depot, Jack Daniels, JC Penney, MetLife, Nextel, SBC, Secure Horizons, Target, Verizon, Wal-Mart, Western Union, Washington Mutual

Conexión (San Antonio, Hearst, weekly, Spanish-language, circ. 50,000)

12% (of total revenues)

Telecoms are by far the most aggressive. Automotive and beverage

Diario La Estrella (Dallas/Ft. Worth, Knight Ridder, Spanish-language daily, circ. 32,950)

NA

Telecommuications, Finance, Retail

El Nuevo Día-Orlando (Orlando, Grupo Ferre, daily, Spanish-language, circ. 23,500)

30%

Walmart, Bank of America, Toyota, Sprint, Radio Shack, Washington Mutual, Banco Popular, ESPN, Publix and Albertson Supermarkets, Ford, Humana, Goya, etc. At the present we are working the retailers.

Fronteras
(National, UPS-Danilo Black, Weekly stand-alone or insert, Spanish, combined circ. of partner papers 49,000)

NA. Sold by each partners paper (mostly in previously untapped middle markets).

Banking, telecom,

consumer products, Telecom, department stores, financial

institutions, consumer products, cable providers, beverage ,

automotive.

Hora Hispana (New York, New York Daily News, weekly Spanish-language, circ. 200,000)

10%

Travel/Airlines and Movies, Banks are interested...

Hoy (Tribune, Spanish-language daily, circ. 172,554)

Chicago: 36,694

Los Angeles: 83,019

New York: 52,841)

NA

Telecom, Automotive. Potential in Entertainment and Finance

NYP-Tempo (News Corp)

(New York, circ. 678,105, monthly supplement to the New York Post, English)

30%

Automotive, Beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), Hi-end Fashion, Telecommunications, Entertainmentand Banking/Finance.

La Guía (Sarasota, Orlando, Tampa Bay and South Florida, TV Net Productions, Spanish-language, monthly, Combined circ. 50,000)

Below 10%

Growth in Telcos, pharma and health providers.

La Palma (Palm Beach, FL, Cox Newspapers, Spanish-language, weekly, circ. 42,000)

NA

Telecommunications, Financial and Auto.

Rumbo (Texas, Meximerica Media, Spanish-language daily: Circ. 89,500 (San Antonio 20,000, Houston, 34,000, Rio Grande Valley: 18,500, Austin: 17, 000)

NA

Wireless, Food and Beverage, Financial and Chain retail and Automotive.


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