The Hispanic print industry presently finds itself at an interesting crossroads: It is a growing niche within a sector that is shrinking. And that is the challenge Hispanic print media professionals face. Contrary to general market newspaper trends, the Hispanic newspapers circulations are growing.
Trevor Hansen, CEO of Ethnic Print Media Group, who buys Hispanic newspaper advertising for companies including American Airlines, Western Union, Wachovia and Washington Mutual, tells Portada that, “Hispanic newspapers have grown in direct proportion to the growth of the Hispanic market. This is reflected in circulation growth of media in major markets as well as new publication launches in markets that have experienced strong Hispanic growth patterns.” According to Hansen, “Hispanic newspapers are essentially a niche media, which means that their total product from editorial, to production and strategic circulation is all geared towards reaching, educating, and motivating their core target audience.
“This is why Hispanic newspapers today and tomorrow will continue to be a strong solution for both their communities and advertisers – they speak directly to and for their targeted readership.”

General market publishers are also recognizing this. Last December, Boston-based Phoenix Media purchased the four year-old El Planeta for an undisclosed sum. Phoenix media currently publishes the alternative weekly The Boston Phoenix, and has been a minority stakeholder in El Planeta almost since the Hispanic paper’s inception. “Our intent is to grow it, both on the sales side—using the power of the entire Phoenix communications group—and on the editorial side by making maximum use of those resources and through content sharing,” Bradley Mindich, President of Phoenix Media tells Portada.

Mindich says that Phoenix Media has a strong base of national advertisers that it hopes to introduce to El Planeta. “We’ll be looking to leverage this base to bring about additional buys. Also there are a lot of Hispanic agencies that we will be pursuing aggressively.”

In order to execute these aims, the company will enlist its 50 salespeople currently working for Phoenix Media to concentrate on selling into El Planeta.

Julio Saenz, Editor and Publisher of Excélsior Newspaper in Orange County, notes that “Despite the recent slowdown in immigration, the Hispanic demographic that is our audience is still growing. It is a community which tends to be much younger than the general market and is therefore a prime consumer group. You’re talking about consumers who still need to spend money as their families grow.”

Strong community ties
Community coverage is at the heart of Hispanic newspapers. Their strong ties to their communities are paramount to local and national advertisers.
“Hispanics turn to newspapers for community news and to learn how to do things,” Loida Ruiz, Sales Director at The Houston Chronicle’s Hispanic publications, tells Portada. This may be a reason why community newspapers are being launched even in these financially challenging times. Last month, entrepreneur Clara Padilla Andrews announced that she will launch a weekly, Más New Mexico, which will provide local, state, national, and international news in both Spanish and English. The publication will distribute 20,000 copies every Wednesday in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.”

Excelsior’s Julio Saenz conveys a clear message: “I see the future of successful media being tied to how exclusive one’s content is, so we have deals with the local Hispanic soccer leagues to be their exclusive media partner.

Only we have their soccer scores, standings and game reports. Some of these leagues have 3,000-4,000 players. This has driven our subscriptions by over 50% in just a few months and we plan to pass 15,000 this year.”

Of the 1,983 national preprints (FSIs) inserted in Hispanic newspapers between January 1 and October 15, 2007, 1001 (50.48%) were in English, according to a Portada study; 767 (38.68%) were in Spanish, while 215 (10.14%) were bilingual. The high proportion of English language FSIs is partly a reflection of the fact that many advertisers place their general market English-language preprints into Hispanic newspapers. While general market insertion campaigns can be in the tens of millions,Hispanic campaigns tend to be lower. Because of the lower print run of a specific FSI, at a higher average cost, advertisers are hesitant to cover the printing costs for a piece that exclusively targets Hispanics. Response to Spanish and bilingual FSIs can be higher, even though FSIs generally present prices in a way that is clearly understandable, regardless of which language the copy is in.

Even so, many advertisers have a broader approach towards the Hispanic market: Best Buy, Home Depot and Target produce Spanish and Bilingual FSIs. Home Depot has 10 different Spanish language FSIs targeting Hispanics.


Portada Staff

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