La Vibra, now in Houston…

La Vibra, a weekly entertainment publication developed by Los Angeles based La Opinión (introduced in L.A., summer 2000), was launched in Houston by the The Houston Chronicle (Hearst Newspapers, average daily circulation 549,300) on April 23rd. The Spanish-language publication, which comes out every Friday, targets young (18-34 year olds), hip, urban Latinos. It covers music, celebrities, as well as movie, concert and event information. “The total distribution is 100,000 copies weekly in neighborhoods with Hispanic penetration of 65% or more,” Emily Cohen, public affairs manager at The Houston Chronicle tells Portada®.

The first issue was a 28 page, full color pub, on celebrities and entertainment. All editorial was in Spanish, although some classfied advertising was published in English. The Chronicle's Cohen says that in the future La Vibra's editors might sprinkle some English into the publication. Seventy-five percent of La Vibra's content is produced by La Opinión (national content), while 25% is produced locally.

The contract between La Opinión and The Houston Chronicle gives The Chronicle exclusive distribution rights in the Houston area. La Opinión and The Houston Chronicle will co-promote La Vibra's content. Neither La Opinión nor the The Houston Chronicle would disclose the financials of the transaction or whether there is an advertising revenue split agreement between the newspapers. Advertisers who have bought space in the first few issues come from diverse sectors, including big department stores such as Northstrom and Foley's, as well as the local race track (Sam Houston Racepark), Hertz, Firestone Tires, car dealerships, local music events, jewelry stores, restaurants, and a casino based in Louisiana.

…faces a distribution challenge…

The distribution of La Vibra offers some clues as to the challenges publishers and advertisers face in trying to reach Houston's Hispanics. Out of 100,000 papers distributed, 13,000 are home-delivered to subscribers and 50,000 are home-delivered to non-subscribers. (Even in neighborhoods with at least 65% Hispanic penetration, The Houston Chronicle only has 13,000 paying Hispanic subscribers. The free Spanish-language weekly La Voz de Houston [independently owned, circ. 108,000] has a relatively low circ./total Hispanic hh ratio of 34.23%, according to data provided by Geoscape International.) “The 63,000 copies that are home delivered are in a bag that also includes The Houston Chronicle,” Cohen explains. On Fridays, an additional 18,000 stand-alone copies of La Vibra are distributed in free, specially-designed racks at area retailers and on street corners in Hispanic neighborhoods. Finally, 19,000 copies are inserted into the Sunday Houston Chronicles sold at newsstands in Hispanic neighborhoods.

…but La Vibra won't stop at Houston.

La Opinión is now considering publishing La Vibra content in other U.S. markets.

“It was a natural evolution for La Vibra to expand into markets outside of Southern California. We are very excited about this partnership and are evaluating other opportunities,” Mary Zerafa, vice president of Market Development and New Media at La Opinion tells Portada®.