Denver’s La Voz Files for Bankruptcy

Weekly newspaper La Voz has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, after 30 years in Denver. La Voz publisher Wanda Padilla told the Rocky Mountain News that the newspaper owes creditors between $500,000 and $600,000 and two banks foreclosed on the paper, garnishing its accounts.

The bilingual newspaper will continue to publish while operating under bankruptcy protection. La Voz is published every Wednesday for readers in the Denver area and northern Colorado.

"We still have revenue flow, but we do have a lot of debt," she said. The paper is entertaining an offer from a potential group of investors who might refinance the paper's debt. Padilla also is considering an offer from a buyer and is hoping news of the bankruptcy filing may bring in other offers. The paper has about $50,000 in hard assets and about $200,000 in soft assets such as its advertising portfolio, Padilla said. , La Voz doubled its circulation since 2003 to 100,000 and has increased annual advertising revenue by 20 percent in the same period, she said.

Padilla co-founded the newspaper in 1974 with her husband, Jose Padilla.

Colorado's Hispanic newspaper market has become more competitive in recent years. The Greeley Tribune launched a free Spanish-language newspaper earlier this year, and last year the Denver Newspaper Agency introduced El Comerciante de Colorado, a direct-mail biweekly advertising circular aimed at 75,000 Hispanic households.

Small Hispanic print advertising market
There are almost 600,000 Hispanics living in the Denver DMA – about one fifth of the total population. Between 1990 and 2000 Denver's Latino population grew by 89%.

According to bottom-up and top-down estimates done by Portada®, the Denver Hispanic newspaper ad market has a volume of between US $2.6 and $4.2 million. National advertising accounts for approximately 40% of these amounts.

Print advertising accounts for a very small proportion of Denver's Hispanic advertising. Interestingly, in Denver's general ad market, newspapers account for 60% of total ad expenditures, an unusually high share for print media.

In January 2004, CMR began tracking ad revenues for two Denver Hispanic weeklies – La Voz (circ. 24,000, CAC, bilingual) and El Hispano. During the first four months of the year, the papers had combined advertising revenues of US $450,000 (La Voz, US $232,760 and El Hispano 217,490).

In 2003, total advertising expenditures for the Denver DMA were approximately US $1 billion. Assuming a Hispanic market share of 3.5% of total advertising, ad expenditures for Hispanic advertising would have been US $35 million.