King Features Syndicate, a New York City based member of the Hearst Entertainment and Syndication Group, will launch Diversión, a weekly Spanish-language entertainment supplement for newspapers, in the first quarter of 2004. The venture has a first year revenue goal of US $7-10 million.
The 4-8 pages full-color supplement will contain popular comics, games and contests, as well as features on Hispanic lifestyle and culture, advice, Latin celebrity profiles and Latin music reviews.
Until now, Hearst's only presence in Hispanic print media was a joint venture with Mexico's Editorial Televisa to publish Cosmopolitan en español (2002 US paid circ. 56,000), as well as Spanish-language editions of Good Housekeeping, Harper's Bazaar and Popular Mechanics>
Diversión will be launched with a 1 million plus insert (mostly in weekend editions) in 13 newspapers in the top 10 Hispanic markets, and distributed through newsstand, subscription and high-density Hispanic zip code delivery. The supplement will be printed by Gazette Communications in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and then shipped to each client newspaper's plant.
Newspapers distributing Diversión include properties owned by Hearst, Knight-Ridder, Tribune Company, Gannett, Freedom Newspapers and Belo Corp. (see box).
King Features does not pay newspapers to carry the insert, but allows them to sell local ads in Diversión. “The papers keep 100% of local advertising sales. The CPMs they charge are entirely up to them,” King Features president T.R. “Rocky” Shepard III told Portadatm. National advertising revenue will be split between newspapers and King Features Syndicate according to a formula Shepard would not disclose.
While carrier newspapers will not own exclusive rights to their own markets, King Features will try to avoid overlap. Shepard admits that in some areas this might be unavoidable.
King Features is looking to partner with a TV network and/or cable company to promote Diversión on the air, while Diversión promotes their TV programming in print. “We are looking for a combination of cash and barter deals,” Shepard noted. Ad-placements in Diversión will have a relatively long lead-time (5 weeks), which might make it difficult for the networks to promote their content.
Shepard is betting that the one-order/one-bill national print media ad buy will attract advertisers, especially in the grocery, telecommunications, furniture/apparel, footwear, retail and transportation sectors. “Our family oriented content appeals to a wide spectrum of companies targeting Hispanics,” Shepard said. CPMs charged to national advertisers will be between US $25-75 per thousand copies distributed, depending on the position of the ad.
Sensacion Marketing, a Hispanic media and marketing company and publisher of Fútbol Mundial, will handle the national advertising sales, with the help of the ad sales team from The Houston Chronicle. Some national accounts running advertising in The Houston Chronicle have been assigned to that newspaper's sales team, said Shepard.
Felix Sención, founder and CEO of Sensación, said that he will attempt to cross-sell advertising in Diversión to their Fútbol Mundial clients, but he cautions that Fútbol Mundial targets a mostly male audience, while Diversión focuses on families. “Fútbol Mundial advertisers are mostly beer, spirit and tobacco brands, while Diversión will attract food and beverage, and other household product brands.” He sees possible cross-sells in drinking and driving campaigns and scholarship ads.
Will King's content be King?
Diversión will include content from Hearst owned newspapers, as well as from King Feature's vast content library, which includes columns, editorial cartoons and puzzles distributed to more than 6,000 daily, weekly and community newspapers around the globe, including Latin America and Spain. King's leading comic properties include “Popeye,” “Mandrake the Magician” and “Beetle Bailey.” King Features had its beginnings in 1895, with William Randolph Hearst's idea to distribute the “Yellow Kid” comic to newspapers in the US and worldwide.
Diversión does not yet have its own editorial staff. “Translation and development work for the prototype issue (see below) was done by journalists at King Features's Mexico City office,” said Shepard. He plans to develop Hispanic specific content and not rely solely on translations of English material. Diversión will be launched as a 100% Spanish product. “Down the road we might try a more bilingual model,” Shepard said, adding that “the jury is still out as to whether printed products for Spanish-speaking audiences should be in Spanish only or bilingual.”
King Features's first objective is to make current distribution viable through advertising sales. The company has invested millions in content development, printing and delivery. If the project is successful, King Features will expand to other large US Hispanic markets. “This may be the beginning of a national Hispanic newspaper,” Shepard noted.
Asked if the insert newspaper model might be applied for the rest of Latin America, Shepard said that “Central America and Mexico are definitely a possibility. However, it might be difficult to find a TV and/or cable company to promote Diversión the way we are planning to in the US.”
Supplements, a proven idea
Several Hispanic publishing ventures are using inserts in a network of carrier newspapers to offer advertisers national reach. Vista Magazine, a Sunday newspaper insert, was founded in 1985 by Arturo Villar, publisher of Hispanic Market Weekly. It is now owned by Floridian entrepreneur Fred Estrada. The monthly insert was the first mass-market crossover Hispanic magazine in English.
Vista carrier newspapers, total circulation 1 million, include Hanford Sentinel (Pulitzer), Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald (Knight Ridder), Harlingen Valley Morning Star (Freedom Communications) and The Arizona Republic (Gannett). Some of the same newspapers will also carry Diversión (El Nuevo Herald, Valley Morning Star and The Arizona Republic) reflecting publishers' confidence that national advertisers will buy more ads in publications with national reach. Generally, media buyers and advertisers have been disappointed by the low reach of print media targeting Hispanics (see “Print media buyers want research, more reach and unique content,” page 1, Portadatm, No. 4 July/August 2003).
Diversión, a weekly, is distributed more often than Vista, offering advertisers more opportunities to connect with readers.
In 2002 Vista launched a bilingual boxing and baseball insert targeting Hispanic males. It had sales of more than US $5.3 million last year. In the first quarter of 2003, Vista's advertising revenues increased by 51.2%.
Sports inserts are effective in targeting Hispanics nationwide. Major League Baseball en español is a bilingual magazine published three times a year by Major League Baseball Properties as an insert in major Hispanic and mainstream dailies. It reaches approximately one million households in the seven largest Latino markets. Futbol Mundial is published as an insert in 20 newspapers in 15 different DMA's and has a circulation of over 1 million copies.
To Lisa Contreras, VP director of multicultural advertising at Carat USA, “inserts targeting the Hispanic population are definitely “not a bad idea”. However, she notes that in terms of reaching their target they do have a “certain amount of waste, unless they are inserted in Spanish language newspapers”. Part of the inserts carried by general market newspapers as opposed to inserts carried by newspapers specifically targeting Hispanics, may end up in the hands of the wrong people (non-Hispanics). “When an inserts gets to an Hispanic reader through a newspaper specifically geared towards Hispanics we know that the ad is getting to our target because the reader is paying to buy the newspaper”, Contreras tells Portadatm.