Analysis: Why Are Hispanic Newspapers in San Diego and OC Expanding Circ.?

Circulation increases among Spanish-language newspapers in the U.S. are not an exception. In fact, they are almost a norm. Just last week Portada heard about two Hispanic newspapers who are substantially increasing their circulation: The San Diego Union Tribune’s Enlace and Excelsior, published by the OC Register in Orange County. What is behind these circulation increases which are so contrary to the large circulation declines of general market metro newspapers? Two factors explain the growth of many Hispanic newspapers. The first is their strong appeal as community newspapers in areas where they almost have a monopoly on local information. The second factor, is the growth of the FSI (pre-print business), which is fueling the current growth in mostly home-delivered circulation. Home delivery is heavily favored by retail advertisers who place their inserts in them to make sure they reach household decision makers at home.

In May we reported about newspaper circulation increases in four different Hispanic newspapers. Last week two additional newspapers in San Diego and Orange County, CA announced circulation increases.
The Union Tribune San Diego’s Enlace , a weekly Spanish-language newspapers, is increasing its circulation from 112,982 in by an additional 63,514 copies. The additional distribution will be directed to Southwest Riverside County. Total circulation starting October 5 is 176,496. The Southwest Riverside edition of Enlace features additional local content home-delivered to Spanish-dominant households.  According to U-T’s Enlace, the move, which took effect on Oct. 5, 2013, will allow the U-T to reach a largely underserved community with news and information in Spanish while providing advertisers a premium vehicle to reach Hispanic consumers. Enlace is published on Saturdays.

The production of (Hyper) local content about the communities they serve is a key factor explaining the growth of Hispanic newspapers. Community newspapers and media have a strong appeal in markets where there often are few competing local information sources. In an interview with Portada to be published later this week, Jeremy Halbreich, Chairman & CEO at AIM Media Texas, which publishes several Hispanic dailies and weeklies in the Rio Grande (Texas) area, notes that “the community sector has not been impacted as adversely as the large metros and because they have always focused and remained dedicated to their immediate local communities. They typically have less direct competition than the metros and they are more sensitive and more connected to their local audiences.”

Hispanic Newspapers“We are thrilled to begin serving our Latino neighbors in Southwest Riverside,” said Tom Jimenez, vice president of Hispanic products at the San Diego Union Tribune. “We are now in a position to offer our local and national advertisers even greater reach in our high-density Hispanic markets in Southern California.” The targeted Southwest Riverside distribution area has a 41 percent concentration of Hispanic residents — or 319,105 adults — with a median household income of $51,211 according to Nielsen 2013 data. With the addition of the Southwest Riverside edition of Enlace, the U-T now offers three zones that serve readers and advertisers in high-density Hispanic areas in south San Diego County (including Tijuana), north San Diego County communities and Southwest Riverside. Enlace Extra reaches more than 100,000 affluent homes in Tijuana; inserted in the popular La Bolsa Azul, an international home-delivery solution for advertisers.“The current expansion is part of a broader cross-platform media strategy and portfolio,” said Joe Brenneman, vice president and chief revenue officer “We aim to reach more Hispanic audiences, more frequently and on more devices.” In addition to Enlace, the U-T publishes a weekly Spanish language lifestyle and entertainment magazine, Vida Latina San Diego. The magazine recently launched a mobile-optimized companion website,, featuring the latest U-T San Diego Web design technology. Partner news site offers another digital platform for advertisers.

Excelsior in Orange County grows home – delivered circulation…

Capitalizing on a US Census statistic stating that Hispanics living in Orange County have the highest Hispanic Household income, Excelsior, the Spanish-language weekly published by the Orange County Register (Freedom Communications) is adding home-delivered circulation.

“Highest earning Hispanic households are the first ones who were offered an opt in, free home delivery subscription of the paper,” says  Excelsior’s Operations Manager Jesus Cobian. He adds that building the home delivery database one requested opt in at a time is a longer way to do things. However, when readers are asking for the paper, it’s because they want the information inside. It’s a slower but stronger home delivery program in comparison to saturating a zip with high Hispanic density.” Excelsior now has 26,000 copies in requested home delivery. Total circulation is 63,000 copies every Friday. Excelsior also released a re-design of the newspaper last month.

 which attracts retail advertisers.

Both Enlace and Excelsior are available for free: In other words, their publishers need to clearly expect that an increase in advertising revenues will finance the home-delivered circulation increase. This is where retail advertisers who place their offers and coupons in preprints (also called inserts or FSI’s) come in. Retail advertisers love to reach household  purchase decision makers, mostly Latina housewifes, at home. Contrary to rack distributed newspapers where inserts (FSI’s) can be lost easily before (and if) the publication reaches the reader’s home, home-delivered publications guarantee that the inserts reaches homes.