Hispanic Print has enjoyed some excellent growth in the past few years. While an exodus of readers from print to online has left many general market publications scrambling for new ways to produce enough revenue to survive, the Hispanic market has been steaming right along. Hispanic print also enjoys a high pass-along rate, and it is not uncommon for three or more readers to thumb the pages of a single paper or magazine.
Some print advocates argue that one advantage for advertisers looking to reach consumers through print is that newspaper and magazine readers are a captive audience, compared with television and radio audiences who can multi-task while taking in their media. Rosie Alvarez, account manager at Vida en el Valle is not so sure if she agrees. “They can always walk away and do something else. It’s not attached to them or anything.”
Others think that there is something about print that sets it apart from the rest. Robert Leal, ad sales director of Al Dia, Texas, notes, “Print is, in essence, a captive media. There is a higher level of engagement at play with the newspaper reader than with someone watching TV or listening to the radio, because they have to exert themselves to process the information in front of them. This is not the case with TV and Radio.”
Still others, like HOY’s Publisher and CEO Digby Solomon, take a more nuanced view. Solomon contends that there is no such thing as a captive audience in this age of endless media choices. “But newspaper readers are an engaged audience,” says Solomon. “When they use print they are actively engaged in reading and understanding the content, and endless research studies have shown they tend to engage with the advertising as well. It's a proactive medium that allows people to select what news and what advertising they consume, rather than forcing them to sit through some programmer's rundown choices, or be interrupted by unwanted commercial messages.”
Cesar Pizarro, vice president of business development for El Nuevo Herald, adds, “Another thing is that the paper is portable. You can take it with you if you like, or you can leave it at home and it will be there waiting for you. Unlike broadcast, the advertising remains intact. How many times have you been listening to the radio or television and just caught the end of the ad or the last four digits of the phone number? With print, that doesn’t happen.”
Recipe for Success…
The success of Hispanic newspapers in recent years is sometimes attributed to its local relevance. Local news published in newspapers tends to be more home-based, as many times reporters are part of the community that they report on. Robert Leal asserts that it is a matter of focus: “With radio, the focus is music. With television, the focus is more entertainment-oriented. Most Spanish-language radio and television stations only devote a couple of 30 minute time-slots to the news, not all of which is local. This stands in contrast to Hispanic print, where the majority of content is news-related, and there exists a lesser focus on music and entertainment.”
Local newspapers can also be a very effective vehicle for advertisers to reach the Hispanic community. Al Dia’s Leal says that telecom is huge in Hispanic print, and that Sprint, Verizon and Cingular account for the majority of the paper’s advertising, followed by automotive. Retail is also big, with companies like Macy’s, Target and Wal-Mart investing heavily in both Hispanic and general market print.
The financial sector also uses print, with banks, credit card companies and insurers spreading the word about their offerings.
Probably the most important factor influencing what medium or publication to advertise in is what the purpose of the campaign is. As Cesar Pizarro, VP of business development for El Nuevo Herald puts it, “Advertisers also use different vehicles for different purposes. For instance, daily newspapers like ours are preferred by many retailers to drive traffic to their stores, whereas those same advertisers will use magazines and broadcast primarily for branding purposes.”
Al Dia’s Leal sees the decision over where and when to advertise resulting from an attempt to maximize exposure: “Most advertisers prefer daily newspapers, because they offer a higher frequency, and higher frequency offers greater market penetration, and that is the real goal of advertisers: to achieve greater reach and penetration,” says Leal.
Nonetheless, many feel that there is potential for even greater print investment given the right conditions. Rachel Stayduhar, media buyer for LA-based ACG media cites pre-print zoning and home delivery and as topping her list of considerations when deciding whether or not to buy in a particular publication. If the publication is free or is a weekly, Stayduhar’s clients prefer that the paper is home-delivered: “A lot of Hispanic options are eliminated from consideration because they are all rack distributed. The other bug issue is (as a print only agency dealing with retailers for whom the majority of print advertising is in preprints) is that most Hispanic newspapers do not have good enough preprint zoning capabilities to be considered viable options for many of our clients – they want something that can be highly targeted.”
Vital to Hispanic print’s growth is an ingredient that is vital to any sector’s growth: expansion. So worth considering is what areas might hold promise for new Hispanic print properties. Hoy’s Digby Solomon thinks that there is still room for growth in Texas and Northern California. “Secondarily, you see many smaller markets popping up in the Southeast, where Hispanic immigration is very strong,” he adds. Pizarro agrees that the Southeast has real potential: “I see opportunity for print in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. Anywhere where there is a large movement of Hispanics away from traditional Hispanic centers and into traditionally non-hispanic centers.”
One interesting development taking place in print advertising that seems to be a reaction to the online market is that it is becoming increasingly interactive. Many advertisers are no longer satisfied with simply placing an ad in the paper. “Promotions are really picking up,” says Al Dia’s Robert Leal. “They are much more interactive, and are a more effective way of reaching out to the public than simply taking out a ¼ pg. ad.” Leal cites a recent campaign that Al Dia put together for Dodge where the automaker sponsored a flat-screen TV giveaway in support of the World Cup. The campaign received 574 reader entries.
El Nuevo Herald’s Cesar Pizarro has noticed that advertisers are keen to develop new ways to reach print audiences. “Advertisers are putting pressure on us to provide more creative ways of delivering their messaging. One thing we have been doing is running what are called “Fireplace ads,” where about 60% of the double-truck is used for the visual and the rest is filled by the editorial, producing an eye-catching effect. Other approaches include uniquely-shaped ads, ones that appear on different pages but add-up to a full page ad.
HOY’s Digby Solomon says that wraps (like the one’s HOY did with McDonald’s and Heineken earlier this year, see “Hispanic Publishers Seek new Revenue Sources with Front-cover Advertising, page 41, Portada® Nr. 21 September/October 2006) are also increasingly becoming part of the print advertising landscape.
The various methods of catching Hispanic consumers’ interests through print advertising brings to mind a famous quote from the movie Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.” The same is true for Hispanic print advertising: Place an ad, and invariably some people will see it and purchase the product. The key is building the ad so as to maximize the number of target consumers who view it, in turn maximizing sales.