Kent Kirschner: Renaissance in the Digital Age

Several years back, while developing a media plan for a US-based bank looking to advertise in Mexico, I was shocked by the prices being charged by a particular newspaper group: Reforma. At the time, their open rate (based on CPM comparison) was about 400% higher than The New York Times, for example. This was puzzling to me, considering that the paper claimed a circulation of only about 120,000 in a city of 25 million.

Since that time, I’ve come to understand better — and very much appreciate — the strategic approach that Grupo Reforma has taken over the last few decades in their gradual development as one of Mexico’s leading media groups. For Reforma, the audience of high-value readers is quite small, and it is the only audience they are interested in. Because of this, their products are extremely well-targeted, and their circulation is maintained at a certain level. Their message to advertisers is the following: we reach the most influential and acquisitive audience to be found in Mexico City…and nothing else.    

Around the world, this is a media strategy that we are going to understand and witness more and more in the years to come. Thanks to the proliferation of devices like the iPad and digitalization tools like Zinio, Yudu and Skif, media companies and advertisers will now find it much easier to find high-quality targets in tightly controlled content verticals.  

While the first wave of online advertising concentrated on massive amounts of eyeballs and incredibly low CPMs, the next wave portends a much more insightful media marketplace with much more valuable relationships between media and audiences. And while the trend over the past couple of decades has been a gradual devaluation of editorial oversight and high-quality design, we will now see a resurgence of value and investment being given to professional journalists, editors and art directors. The teams will be much smaller and the content much more tightly focused, but technology will permit mass distribution at a much lower cost.  

Specifically for Spanish language audiences, this is an exciting trend. Content creators are now no longer restricted by capital and distribution constraints that in the past would have prevented them from growing audience and revenues. The best and the brightest will now be able to find and efficiently distribute to audiences around the world. Their ability to monetize these audiences will also be much more efficient and valuable thanks to the granularity of consumer information that the new devices will provide. 

As an example of this, I encourage readers to spend a little time with Registration is required, but it is a fascinating experience.   This project has been in development for several years now, and the premise is obvious: high-value audiences will demand high-quality content and design across their new media devices, and advertisers will pay a premium for access.

Kent Kirschner is CEO of The Media Maquiladora, a leading Hispanic integrated marketing agency, and executive managing director of TRAFFIQ Latino, a direct marketplace for premium Spanish language digital media inventory.