Analysis: UPDATE Newspaper Zoning vs. Full Run? (Portada’s Linked In Forum)

Full run circulation vs. zoning. It’s a major issue for Hispanic newspapers and the advertisers that cater to them. An interesting discussion on the topic is evolving on  Portada’s Linked in Forum  .
Discussion started by Anita Grace, president of Anita Grace Ad Execs, Minneapolis, MN

“What are your thoughts on zoning newspapers for FSI’s? Is it better to offer zoning and gain clients? Or would a potential loss of current full circ revenue overshadow what was gained by zoning?”    

Michael Vinales, Experienced Multicultural Media Professional, NY, NY Retailers have always sought to buy as efficiently as possible, reaching customers within a predetermined radius/trade area of their locations. After fully evaluating the potential upside in new customers- and revenues- you can then determine if this would offer long term benefits to both your paper and customers you serve. Always charge more for zone opportunities than full circ.”  

Anita Grace replies
“Hi Michael! Thanks for your feedback! One of my up and coming papers grew from 15,000 bi-weekly to 30,000 weekly. To now 50,000 copies weekly. So our costs have increased tremendously. Being an independent, family owned newspaper, offering zoning would be great, but we're just now exploring it.... “

Marcos Baer, publisher Portada, NY.
Hi Anita, Is this Reporte Hispano? If so congrats to you and Cara! I think that zoning for FSI's and full run does not necessarily have to be a trade off. Many (larger) newspapers divide their full circ in different zones for retail FSI right? It may be more of a trade off for smaller newspapers with heavy cost constraints.”

Bill Vincent, Executive-level media and mid-size business turnaround specialist, economy analyst (former publisher of Rumbo-Houston and former GM of La Estrella – Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX)
“This depends on the market penetration of the newspaper. In short, the better the market penetration, the more justification for zoning. When we launched La Estrella En Casa, we intended on making it about an 85% penetration vehicle. So in certain key areas, we were virtually 100% penetration. The trick in keeping the larger, full-circ clients is in your pricing structure. High CPM  price for zones, much lower for full circ. On the other hand, Rumbo was (at the time I was publisher) a bit more content driven. So zoning didn't make sense. Very limited circulation in a huge area (Houston). At the time, there just wasn't enough circulation to justify zoning, although I was frequently studying it. “

Marcos Baer, publisher Portada, NY.
“BTW there is a very interesting article in ClickZ on how to cater to retail advertisers with print advertising by allowing readers to purchase items with a scan of their smart phone. According to the article, Glamour plans to run print ads in March allowing readers to purchase items with a scan of their smart phone” 

Carlos Mauricio Olea, Owner & Founder CMO Inc, Publisher of Un Buen Doctor Magazine
“ In my past newspaper life, I was confronted with similar circumstances at different stages of our growth. There are several factors that you may want to consider and could help you when deciding what your best alternatives are. Especially keep in mind that clients and potential buyers have a tendency to prefer zoning capabilities to avoid waste and will consider them as well when doing their own analysis of your publication’s viability.
Some of these elements may be:
1.- Are you a Sunday or midweek Publication
2.- What are your current returns
3.- Are your rates competitive
4.- Is your publication audited by one of the  recognized Independent Circulation Auditing Companies
5.- How much demand is there from your current and potential future FSI’s clients.
6.- How much duplication or lack of exist in your market vs.:
a) Direct Hispanic Newspapers Competition;
b) General Market Newspapers which are also currently serving your areas.
7.- What is your current minimum circulation for FSI’s you will accept
8.- What is the language preference of your readers
9.- Is your publication circulation home delivered, bulk-drop or both
10.- How many zones are you planning to have
11.- What were the main reasons that determined the boundaries for each of those zones
12.- What is your publication ability to provide micro-targeted distribution
13.- What is your publication current editorial vs. ads ratio “

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Marcos Baer @MarcosBaer

Marcos oversees editorial and sales. He is based in Portada's NYC headquarters. Prior to launching Portada in 2003, Marcos worked in both the media and finance sectors. He occupied leading roles at the Spanish edition of The Wall Street Journal, in Spain’s newspaper Cinco Dias and at SwissRe. He is an MBA, and a CFA. Marcos is a print junkie and also loves all things digital media. He also is passionate about everything related to New York City and loves to play tennis.

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