UNIDOS lowers circ. to 170,000, eliminates home delivery and bets on rack and retail distribution
What: Spanish-language newspaper UNIDOS en el Sur de California is eliminating home-delivery of the publication and focusing on distribution through news racks and retail locations in high-density Hispanic communities in Orange County, western Riverside, San Bernardino, and eastern Los Angeles County starting Feb. 6. As a result of the changes UNIDOS' total circulation will decrease from 244,000 to 170,000 through the elimination of the Coachella Valley edition and of the home-delivered distribution.
Why it matters: UNIDOS, a unit of Freedom News Group, itself a part of Freedom Communications, is optimizing its distribution strategy and cutting costs as the parent company is facing financial difficulties.
Spanish-language weekly newspaper UNIDOS en el Sur de California is modifying its distribution by moving to exclusively target single copy distribution through news racks and retail locations in Orange County, western Riverside, San Bernardino and eastern Los Angeles County beginning Feb. 6. Home-delivered distribution in Orange County and Inland Southern California will be terminated following the Jan. 30 edition. Orlando Ramirez, publisher of UNIDOS, tells Portada that with the new distribution plan, UNIDOS overall distribution will decrease its circulation from 244,000 to 170,000 with the elimination of home delivery and The Coachella Valley Edition. According to Ramirez, the decisions are based on a "thorough evaluation of our market" to determine the most effective way to reach the Latin consumer. Unidos tested home delivery but ultimately determined that the most effective distribution was through racks and retail locations.The newspaper is increasing the number of copies in high-traffic rack locations by 36,000, and adding additional distribution locations within South Orange County. Total circulation is 170,000 on Fridays, which includes 75,000 copies in Orange County and 95,000 in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The three counties are among the most desirable in the nation for reaching Hispanics with expendable income and buying power.
The termination of home-delivered distribution, which is more costly than rack distribution, is surprising as many retailers favor home-delivered distribution due to the fact that it brings the content right into the house makers home. UNIDOS tells Portada that Target, Ashley Furniture and JC Penney are among its big box retail advertisers.
In 2014 Freedom merged Orange County's Excelsior and Riverside's La Prensa into one newspaper called UNIDOS.
The circulation decrease and elimination of home-delivery are also related to cost cutting as UNIDOS parent Freedom Communications is going through heavy cost cutting to keep its finances in shape. Freedom Communications CEO Aaron Kushner spoke at Portada's 2014 Annual Conference in September and, for the first time, admitted that he would likely close the Los Angeles Register, a daily newspaper for Los Angeles that Freedom launched earlier last year. (The Los Angeles Register then close later in the fall).
Distribution points focus on Hispanic-dominant communities and locations where multigenerational Hispanics live, work, shop and play
Distribution points focus on Hispanic-dominant communities and locations where multigenerational Hispanics live, work, shop and play. They include Latino grocers, family and children-themed clothing stores, restaurants, toy stores, electronics retailers, beauty salons, entertainment venues and coffee shops.
"These moves are part of a new strategy to better target high-densty Latino neighbourhoods in Orange County, Western Riverside and San Bernardino counties and Eastern Los Angeles County. We know the locations in this new footprint perfom well, and it creates a higher quality distribution," says Ramirez.
"The new distribution strategy provides better opportunities to reestablish UNIDOS within our core markets, and brings greater visibility in Latino neighbourhoods that are integrated into readers' daily lives," notes UNIDOS Publisher Orlando Ramirez, who first joined The Press-Enterprise in 1995 as part of his 33-year career as a journalist and leader within Hispanic media in Southern California.
In March 2014, Freedom Communications merged its two Spanish-language newspapers – Orange County's 21 year-old Excelsior and the 15 year-old La Prensa – into one newspaper called UNIDOS en el Sur de California (meaning 'united in Southern California'). La Prensa introduced a Coachella Valley edition in June 2013, which was also rebranded as UNIDOS with a 25,000 circulation. The Coachella Valley edition will discontinue as part of the updated distribution.
UNIDOS' print edition includes the following three sections: Noticias(Spotlights news, business developments and newsmakers on a local, regional, national and international level – with a special focus on Latin America), Deportes (from Mexican and European soccer, to up-coming boxing matches, to national and local sports important to Southern Californians) and NEXT(the all-things-entertainment section appeals to multigenerational Hispanics.)