Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the U.S., plans to implement new strategies to attract Hispanic readers and the advertisers who target them. With circulation declines affecting many Gannett papers in areas with large Latino populations (especially in the Western and Southwestern United States), Hispanics are a natural avenue for circulation growth. Gannett Corporate (McLean, Va.) is evaluating a wide range of initiatives at the local and national levels.
Portada® recently learned that Gannett is considering the launch of a Spanish-language USA Weekend edition. USA Weekend is a national weekly newspaper magazine (circ. 22.7 million) delivered inside over 600 Gannett and non-Gannett newspapers. USA Weekend, the second largest nationwide newspaper insert after PARADE (Advance Publications, 36 million households, 340 carrier newspapers), targets advertisers in the Automotive, Computers, Direct Response, Finance, Food/Packaged Goods, Home, Medical/Pharmaceutical, Pets, Retail, and Travel categories.
USA Weekend en español will enable Gannett to offer national advertisers a wide reaching publication unmatched by any other Hispanic newspaper or magazine. Media buyers interviewed by Portada® say they would welcome the new publication. “It's the next step. It would be fantastic,” says Joe Genova, director of media services at Lopez Negrete in Houston.
Gannett's corporate communications department did not return calls from Portada®.
Local newspaper initiatives
Gannett is also evaluating and implementing a number of initiatives at the local level (see “Gannett steps up efforts to reach Latino readers,” page 11, Portada® No. 4, July/August 2003).
Most of the activity is being spearheaded by Gannett's Texas-New Mexico newspaper partnership, which operates in an area heavily populated by Hispanics (approx. 43% of New Mexicans are Hispanic and Latinos make up more than 75% of the population in most Texas-Mexico border areas), and Gannett's California and Arizona Community Newspaper Division.
Last December, the El Paso-Times (daily, circ. 75,218) launched a weekly Spanish-language entertainment product called TV y Más (circ. 25,000). Gannett is currently evaluating the launch of a full-fledged Spanish-language daily in El Paso that would compete with the Diario de Ciudad Juarez (Editora Paso del Norte, circ. 84,000), which plans to launch an El Paso daily edition during the first quarter of 2005.
The Arizona Republic (Phoenix, Monday-Saturday circ. 413,268, Sundays 530,751) sees the Hispanic market as an important opportunity for growth in an otherwise stagnant or declining newspaper market. According to ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation), the newspaper recently suffered substantial declines in circulation (down 4% in September 2004 compared to September 2003). Last spring, The Arizona Republic launched !Extra¡ to serve Phoenix's bilingual/bicultural Latinos who want their news in English, but also want to read about Latino issues in their communities. !Extra¡ is written 98 percent in English, with Spanish words interspersed throughout.
¡Extra!, distributed in a zone with a population of 500,000 (70% Latino), has a total readership of approximately 100,000. About 32,000 subscribers get ¡Extra! delivered inside The Arizona Republic every Friday. In mid May, in conjunction with La Voz (acquired by The Arizona Republic in August 2003, free, circ. 50,000), the newspaper started free distribution of !Extra¡ at 150 locations – in many cases using the same rack as La Voz.
In August 2003, Gannett-Arizona Republic acquired a majority interest in Phoenix based Ashland Media Group, which publishes the Spanish-language weeklies TV y Más (free, circ. 90,000), La Voz (free, circ. 50,000) and TV Shopper. Ashland Media also owns the direct marketing business AZ Mail.
In California, the Salinas Californian (Monterey County, circ. 20,000) and the Visalia Times-Delta (Tulare County, circ. 21,797) both produce a Spanish-language publication called El Sol. The Salinas version of El Sol has a circulation of 10,351 and recently increased its frequency from once to twice a week. Visalia's El Sol (circ.12,500) also increased its frequency from once to twice a week. Both publications are distributed free of charge through racks at various locations. The Salinas version is also bulk-mailed to subscribers.
Gannett's newspapers are also putting more emphasis on sharing stories with Latino appeal. “For a little more than a year, the El Paso, Tucson and Phoenix newsrooms have collectively dedicated reporting and editing efforts to breaking news and important stories on the Southwest's biggest issue – illegal immigration and border relations with Mexico,” Sue Clark-Johnson, CEO and Publisher at The Arizona Republic and Senior Group President of Gannett Pacific Newspaper Group, recently stated in an article published on Gannett's corporate website.
The Arizona Republic in Phoenix and the El Paso Times provide online news on Spanish-language websites hosted by their main sites – azcentral.com and elpasotimes.com. The azcentral site is at http://www.azcentral.com/lavoz. The El Paso site is at http://www.espanol.elpasotimes.com.
Last October, The Arizona Daily Star (co-owned by Gannett and Pullitzer) launched La Estrella de Tucson, a 44,000 circ. Spanish-language weekly. "Forty five WHAT? PERCENT? of the circulation of La Estrella is distributed to Arizona Daily Star subscribers. The rest is rack distributed," says Kristy Meza, retail advertising manager at The Arizona Daily Star.