Hispanic papers flourish in diverse and growing Chicago

Chicago, the third largest U.S. Hispanic market, is characterized by a large number of niche publications that serve ethnically diverse neighborhoods. While most Midwestern cities are home to a predominantly black/white population, Chicago boasts high racial and ethnic diversity. Whites, blacks, and Hispanics each make up about a quarter of the city’s population. This unique mix reflects Chicago’s continued status as one of the nation’s most important immigrant gateways. The city added 160,000 new residents from abroad in the 1990’s, nearly half of them from Mexico.

Wide range
There are at least 10 important publications targeting Spanish-speaking audiences in the Chicago area, all of them free. They range from 100% Spanish-language content to 100% English content written for English-dominant Latinos.

Hoy-Chicago (Tribune Corp., Monday-Thursday circ. 33,776, Friday circ. 48,368, Spanish), the only daily, was launched last year, replacing the weekly Exito! (also published by Tribune). “We will continue to invest and build readership in Chicago. Like any company, we are also assessing future opportunities, whether it is another edition of the daily, or perhaps expanding our Fin de Semana edition,” says Hoy publisher Digby Solomon Diez. La Raza (Impremedia, free circ. 177,245, paid circ. 10.156, weekly, mostly in Spanish) is Chicago’s largest circulation Hispanic weekly.

Primarily in Spanish
Other publications written primarily in Spanish include Reflejos (Paddock Publications, weekly, circ. 100,000, Spanish), Teleguia (Teleguia Inc., weekly, circ. 30,000, Spanish), El Dia Newspaper (El Dia Publications, weekly, circ. 30,000, Spanish), El Imparcial (Zeke & Rose Montes, weekly, circ. 20,000, Spanish/bilingual) and Impacto Latin News (Impacto Printing, weekly, circ. 57,000, Spanish). According to a report by Scarborough Research, “main and local news are the most read newspaper sections by Chicago Latinos, followed by Classifieds and Entertainment. These section preferences are replicated in other top Hispanic markets such as LA, NY and Miami. Sports sections are more popular among LA and Miami Latino newspaper readers, than among Chicago readers.”

English-dominant Hispanics
According to the publishers of the Lawndale News (Nardini Family, weekly, circ. 199,000, bilingual), more than 60% of Chicago Hispanics are 2nd and 3rd generation and are under 28. Most have been educated in American schools. While 70 percent can speak and understand Spanish, more than 60 percent can not read or write in Spanish. Lawndale uses a bilingual format to ensure penetration of the entire Hispanic/Bilingual Community. Extra (Extra Inc, weekly, circ. 63,000, Spanish/English) also caters to a bilingual and English-dominant audience.

Home-delivery driven market
More than in many other markets, home delivered publications thrive in Chicago. “The Spanish language home delivered newspaper La Raza allows advertisers to reach 50 percent of the Hispanic market on Sundays,” says Olga Casabona market research manager at Impremedia. Casabona says that La Raza has seen increased national advertising from retailers, CPG (coupons), cellular, financial & insurance and healthcare companies. “We publish numerous advertising supplements by major retailers, as well as lots of food and product coupons,” says Casabona.

Growing suburbs
The 2000 census figures show that nearly 5.3 million people live in suburban Cook County (outside the city of Chicago) and in the nearby counties of DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will. That is 42.2 percent of the entire population of Illinois. In comparison, the 1990 census showed about 4.5 million people – or 39.5 percent of the state’s population – lived in suburbs of Chicago. The large and growing suburban Chicago market has lead many publications to distribute zoned editions designed specifically for local advertisers who want to reach only readers in their neighborhoods and not the entire Chicago market. La Raza publishes four zoned editions. La Raza’s strategy mirrors Chicago’s diverse Hispanic market by providing something for every Hispanic group, especially the Mexican community.
“We touch every Hispanic geographic area through our targeted and zoning capabilities,” says Casabona.

Free publications
The expansiveness of the Chicago market makes newsstand delivery of paid publications more difficult and is one of the reasons that most publications are available for free (either through racks or home-delivery). Hoy initially charged US $0.25 for the publication, but later went to a free distribution strategy. Knowing what he knows now, publisher Digby Solomon Diez says he would have launched Hoy-Chicago as a free publication from day one.

Different distribution
Asked why Hoy is paid in New York but not in Chicago and Los Angeles, Solomon Diez tells Portada® that “the New York market has a very different distribution organization, based primarily on several established wholesale organizations and a large number of newsstands.
It is much cheaper for us to distribute a paid newspaper there than in Los Angeles or Chicago, where the distribution picture is very different. It saved us millions of dollars to go free in those markets where we were spending a lot to subsidize distributors.”
 
For more HISPANIC MARKET PROFILES see related articles in www.portada-online.com
• MIAMI: Publishing for the Latin Tower
of Babel
• NEW YORK: Hispanic dailies fight for a larger
slice of the Big Apple's admarket
• DALLAS-FORT WORTH: Advertisers and readers to profit
from competition between  DFW's Hispanic papers


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