Weathering Challenging Times: A How – To Guide

It’s no secret that the Hispanic newspaper industry, like the general market newspaper industry, has weathered some tough times recently. But have Hispanic magazines been similarly affected? Are there factors, such as niche focus that shelter some magazines) from the effects of the recent economic downturn? Gina Tinoco, an ad rep for a number of different magazines, including Mercado de Dinero and South Florida’s Imagen and Level, says the recent economic climate has had a tangible effect on ad investment in Hispanic magazines: “In my case, I've experienced budget changes. But the key is that if you listen to the client and present just what they are looking for to get their audience, you will get that business no matter the current situation.”

Mariano Faget, publisher at Televisa Publishing, is more stark in his economic assessment, though he still sees opportunities for growth: “The Hispanic magazine market overall is flat at best,” he says. “At Televisa Publishing, we have developed 360 degree integrated solutions for our clients consisting of print, digital, events, mobile, etc that have helped us grow our business in a difficult year.” 

However, some more niche publications such as home decor magazine Casa y Hogar and South Florida’s Ocean Drive are reporting minimal effects from the contracting economy. Casa y Hogar publisher Filiberto Fernandez says that while certain categories such as automotive have cut ad investment, others such as home improvement have more than made up for the drop. “For us, advertising is actually up 6% over last year.”

Tatiana Angel, Associate Publisher Ocean Drive Español, says that her magazine’s highly desirable demographic—the upscale South Florida Latino—has protected it from the downward trend in Hispanic magazine ad investment: “In the current economic situation, we are finding that our advertisers are really analyzing their media buys and trying to more specifically target the desired audience. Keep in mind we concentrate in South Florida which is such a unique market, with Latinos coming from all countries in Central and South America at all times.

Guarding against the Digital Drain…
While it is widely recognized that advertisers are allocating their budgets increasingly to online initiatives, Hispanic magazines have actually done rather well in safe-guarding themselves against straying ad investment. As Televisa Publisher Mariano Faget succinctly puts it, “Our solution to any money that can be lost to digital is creating      vertical sites to compliment the print property ... and we are doing this.” 

Ocean Drive Español . also has a rather substantive web site and offers value added advertisers targeted mail campaigns, events and sponsorships.  

While many Spanish-language newspaper web sites—though certainly not all—use their online destinations as little more than page holders or value added for advertisers, Hispanic magazines have done rather well at creating noteworthy sites, which, as Filiberto Fernandez puts it, is “absolutely essential for survival.” One strategy that Casa y Hogar is employing to strengthen their brand is promoting the website in the magazine and vice versa, and featuring photos and video on the website to supplement the print edition. The magazine’s website features video of their celebrity profiles, instructional how-to videos, and send out a monthly e-newsletter to 54,000 people.

Ad rep Gina Tinoco, who also sells for online ad network Hola! Networks says that right now online sales are her bread and butter.

As Ocean Drive’s Tatiana Angel sees it, “To remain competitive in today’s technological setting, any media must have a multi-faceted reach with the ability to make updates in real time. The internet is a great platform to extend the publication’s branding, offer complementary content and provide another vehicle for its marketing efforts,” she says. “This is also an opportunity to provide additional visibility and added value to our clients.”

Digital Editions and Mobile Delivery

Having a website for a magazine is one thing, but many publishers are taking the next step and producing complete digital editions of their magazine available online: “Digital editions are becoming more accepted amongst both the consumer and ad world,” says Televisa’s Mariano Faget. “We currently offer this for PODER Enterprise and we have seen a steady increase in digital subscriptions that are also audited and verified by ABC.”

Some publications, such as the recently shuttered Tu Ciudad Los Angeles, are looking at distributing only in digital format. “With paper, mail and distribution costs rising, it makes good sense to publish digital,” says Gina Tinoco, who used to rep the magazine before it discontinued circulation. She said that Emmis Communications, which published Tu Ciudad, decided to focus on boosting its radio revenues rather than sticking with the start-up print magazine until it reached profitability. Tinoco says that Emmis is encouraging Tu Ciudad to secure outside investment and establish itself online.

Other publishers are looking to generate increased revenues by developing mobile platforms for their products. Casa y Hogar is working on mobile delivery for its video content in 2009, says Filiberto Fernandez.

Ad rep Gina Tinoco says, “It's another way to get revenues. At this time advertisers are asking for more and the more. It's not easy, but if you can offer them these kinds of options and if they happen to resonate with the target’s passion points, it’s a good approach.”

Top things for Publishers to Focus on in Trying Economic Times

Mariano Faget, Publisher Televisa Publishing:
Working Philosophy: “
Great products will always have loyal advertisers”

Advice:

  • Unmatched content reaching almost every demo/segment in the market (except teens).
  • Offering multi platform 360 degree solutions with strong ROI.
  • Continue to aggressively sell the market to advertisers that have not tapped in.

Tatiana Angel, Ocean Drive en Espanol:

Working Philosophy: “Persistence / Stay true to your brand and what it represents to its audience.”

Advice:

  • Creativity and ability to diversify
  • Know who your target audience really is in order to offer added value opportunities along with the advertising

Gina Tinoco, Advertising Sales Professional:

Working Philosophy: “Obviously the content is fundamental and the most important thing, a good product is easier to sell; have reasonable rates; and get the right distribution.”

Advice:|

·        Content

·        Reasonable rates (If it’s a good product, high rates remain reasonable)

·        Distribution: the bigger the circulation, the more value for advertiser and more appealing a buy it is

Filiberto Fernandez, Publisher Casa y Hogar :

Working Philosophy: “The most important thing to understand is that it is impossible to survive these days as a print entity alone, so it’s important to diversify your offering across platforms. In doing so, however, one must be careful to be vigilant about protecting one’s brand.
Advice:

  • Maintain your brand; stay focused
  • Build the brand across platforms

Be relevant and well written; be audited.


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