Fine-tuning the Strategy: Edward Schumacher Matos On the Changes in Rumbo

Edward Schumacher-Matos, CEO and Editorial Director of Rumbo Newspapers talked to Portada® about Rumbo's new strategy.

Q: Why did you decide to close your Austin edition? Will you replace it with another edition?

A: “We are concentrating our resources on strengthening Rumbo's presence in Houston, San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley. These markets are identified as the most important for the growth of the chain and represent three of the top 10 Hispanic markets in the country.”

Q: We understand that you will diminish frequency of your editions. But will you increase circ?

A: “Yes, In Houston, circulation will be boosted to 230,000 copies on a weekly basis with the following breakdown: 30,000 copies on Monday and 100,000 on Wednesday and Friday. In San Antonio, copies will be increased to 120,000 on a weekly basis as follows: 20,000 copies on Monday and 50,000 on Wednesday and Friday. The Valley edition will come out on Fridays with a distribution of 60,000 copies. The three newspapers are being audited by CAC for Q1-2006.”

Q: How do you think the Rumbo reader will react to your new strategy?

A: “Readers are welcoming the fact that Rumbo is free in the streets.

We will continue to deliver our high quality of editorial content and this change will allow us to put even more stress on our high quality and enterprising editorial coverage.”

Q: What type of advertisers do you think will benefit the most from your change?

A: “This change allows us to increase readership and market penetration. All advertisers are welcoming this change because it translates into more response and bigger numbers on the select days they want to advertise.”

Q: How have you been doing so far with regional advertisers, i. e.

Texas advertisers? What % of your total ad revenues comes from regional advertisers?

A: “Texas advertisers are very important in our total mix of advertising. With these changes in penetration and readership, we believe that they will continue growing.” [% is N/A at this time]

Q: Will you launch new supplements (specific content)?

“Yes, as a matter of fact we are looking for sponsors of supplements in different content categories. Sports, education, health, food, personal finance are examples of the supplements planned for this year.”

Q: Are you looking to acquire any newspapers in Texas or other markets?

“We continue very interested in expanding Rumbo to other markets. All these changes in our strategy are looking forward to continue growing.”

Q: Will your headcount change as a result of the new strategy?

“Yes, editorial headcount will decrease as a consequence of the new frequency and the concentration of resources in Houston, San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley. But this decrease will not affect quality of the publications. We have been increasing the size of the sales staff, particularly of national and major account executives, and have added three new senior positions. Lynne Cook, who was the sales VP at the Houston Chronicle, is our new sales VP. Jose Rego, who was CFO of Metro Newspapers, is our new CFO. And Carlos Montemayor, who was vice chairman of the ad agency Global Hue and before that owner of Montemayor y Asociados, is our VP for strategic development.”

Q: In what way will your budget allocations change as a result of the new strategy?

There is little net difference.