Two years ago executives at Grupo Braca de Comunicación, publisher of the Mexican newspapers Diario de México (daily, seven days a week, circ. 75,000), Diario de Morelos and Novedades de Tabasco, decided to publish a New York edition of Diario de México. They partnered with New York based Transalliance Hispanic Media for distribution and advertising sales. Diario de México's U.S. incursion was one of the first attempts by a large publisher to capture an exclusively Mexican-American audience. A strategy which is being replicated by Rumbo, a network of Spanish-language newspapers currently being launched in Texas.
After 12 months, it became clear to Diario de México executives that the partnership with Transalliance Hispanic Media was not working, so Grupo Braca decided to go it alone. “The circulation results were not good enough, and we realized that to have a larger reach we had to adapt the content of the newspaper to the needs of Mexican immigrants,” Germán Baz Gutierrez, COO of Diario de México tells Portada®.
Tailored for its Target Audience…
According to market studies, the content and the design of Diario de México's U.S. edition had to be changed. The newspaper now has different sections for each Mexican state and a new logo. The amount of space given to each Mexican state is based on the number of Mexican-Americans from that state. According to a study commissioned by Diario de México, eighty percent of Mexicans living in the U.S. are from the state of Puebla. Zacatecas, Michoacan, Guerrero, and Oaxaca also have significant representation in the U.S.
The newspaper's heading was redesigned to better reflect the identity of Diario de México's target audience. The new heading emphasizes the word “México.” Also, a short sentence was added next to the heading that reads “editado en México” (edited in México). “The general Hispanic population can obviously read us if they want to,” Baz explains, “but we wanted to emphasize that the paper is written for Mexican-Hispanics.”
The newspaper gets advertising from a wide range of sources (lawyers, phone card companies, dentists, money transfer services, music stores), but still the majority of ad revenues come from Mexican owned businesses (restaurants, bakeries, mole producers, tortilla makers etc.). Most of these are local advertisers like Tortillería Chinantla, Mexican Restaurant La Campireña, Kevin Dyer y Asociados (lawyers), Tacos El Texano, UGC (Underground Communications, mobile telephone), etc. Every day the editors of Diario de México in Mexico D.F. send an electronic file containing the content of the Mexican version of the paper to the New York office, where an on-site production team inserts the local ads.
The fact that a majority of ad revenues come from local advertisers has interesting implications for ad rates. “We charge local advertisers different rates depending on the circulation we have in their area of influence,” Baz explains. “Our national rate is US $3,000 (CPM US $120) for a full page black and white. For an ad in the top left corner of the front page we charge US $1,500 (CPM US $60).”
…and the Challenge of Distribution.
Distribution is the main challenge for Diario de México's U.S. edition, says Baz. The daily has to be distributed at 8,000 different points of sale. Currently it is only being distributed at 2,000. It has a relatively strong distribution network in New York, where it has its U.S. headquarters, and to a lesser extent in other Northeastern U.S. states like New Jersey, Connecticut and Philadelphia.
The U.S. edition, which started out with 15,000 copies, now has a total circulation of 25,000. Of these, 70% are sold for US $0.50 per copy. The remaining 30% (7,500 copies) are distributed through Mexican professional and trade associations and through Mexican consulates across the U.S., where the publication is sold for a “voluntary” amount. These funds are kept by the associations distributing the publication.
“When I took charge of the newspaper in October 2003, only 30% of our target audience knew about us. Now we have a recognition rate of 45%. We get these figures by asking a random selection of people in our main areas of distribution,” says Baz.
Baz emphasizes that there is still a lot of work to be done. “It's a market which everyone wants. It's a demographic with a purchasing power of US $368 billion – Mexican Americans who are growing, starting their own businesses, improving their standard of life. Those who are not that deeply rooted anymore will read the competition which writes about other issues, those who maintain a strong connection with México, will read us. That is why, there is a market for everyone,” Baz concludes.
Norma Angelica Martín