Language preference: Publishers’ strategies as diverse as the market they serve

The publishers of Latina, La Raza, Tu Ciudad and Catalina all want to connect with Hispanic readers, however the language they use to do so varies a lot. And so does the advertising they carry.

The women's lifestyle magazine Catalina (bimonthly) began as an English language publication, but as of its May/June printing the magazine is bilingual. “Now we can really say we have something for everyone,” said publisher Cathy Areu. “We've been considering it for a while and felt that the timing was right with the family issue.” Areu said many of Catalina's 2nd and 3rd generation Hispanic readers have family members who still speak and read in Spanish. Catalina also hopes to appeal to Hispanic ad agencies who are interested in reaching Spanish-speaking Latinas. Catalina will be different than other bilingual titles like Latina (monthly, circ. rate base 400,000, bilingual) which gives a brief Spanish synopsis of a more in-depth article written in English. “In many cases the Spanish text will give additional information that you have to speak Spanish to get,” explains Areu, who says that the Spanish text shouldn't say the same thing that is being said in English. “Translating or summarizing doesn't make sense because you're really writing for two different readers with differing knowledge and cultural contexts.”

Language preference plays an important role in publishers' strategies to reach the U.S. Hispanic market. Late last year, Editorial Televisa bought a 51% stake in the Hispanic Publishing Corporation, gaining two English-language titles: Hispanic Magazine (lifestyle, 10x/year, circ. 280,000) and Hispanic Trends (10x/year, circ. 75,000, distributed by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; targets Hispanic small business owners). Guillermo Plehn, director of advertising sales at Editorial Televisa, told Portada® that the acquisition gives advertisers the opportunity to reach both bilingual and English-dominant Hispanics. One factor explaining Televisa's decision to move into English-language publishing is the tendency for Hispanics to become bilingual or English-dominant after the first generation. The loss of Spanish-dominant readers is not entirely replenished by new immigrants. Including the two Hispanic Publishing Corporation titles, Editorial Televisa now publishes 16 different magazines targeting US Hispanics. Televisa has clearly embraced a segmentation strategy, offering titles in seven different categories which target a wide range of readers from Spanish-dominant first generation Hispanics to highly assimilated English-dominant Hispanics.

Some publishers choose either Spanish or English. The recently launched Los Angeles based magazine Tu Ciudad (Emmis Communications, monthly) has chosen to focus on English-dominant Latinos. “Within the Latino market space, English-dominant Latinos are the most sought after, accounting for 59% of the combined purchasing power of US Hispanics. Although this group is 78% bilingual, English is their preferred language for communication, including magazine preference,” explains Tu Ciudad publisher Jaime Gamboa. In his opinion, Tu Ciudad is the perfect vehicle for reaching a target market with a buying power of $105 billion in Los Angeles alone. Advertisers in Tu Ciudad's first issue included Hummer, Chrysler, Johnny Walker, Aveda, Target, Wells Fargo, and The Getty Center.

Impremedia goes after Spanish-dominant readers

Industry giant Impremedia (publisher of el diario/La Prensa, La Raza and La Opinión) targets Spanish-dominant Hispanics. “There may be other markets that could be reached by bilingual publications, but our market is Spanish-dominant Hispanics,” said Douglas Knight, CEO of Impremedia.

Hoy, the Tribune owned Spanish-language daily with editions in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, follows a similar strategy. Javier Aldape, editor and vice president of product and audience development for Hoy, tells Portada® that there are vast differences in readership among Hoy's three markets. Los Angeles has a mostly Mexican population, with a strong mixture of people from Central America. Chicago, though heavily Mexican, also has a large and established Puerto Rican community. New York is the great Latino melting pot with Hispanics from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and virtually every other Spanish-speaking country. “What transcends the differences between our marketplaces is the common language, Spanish, and what I'll call the generational bond,” said Aldape

Until recently, Spanish-language ads and publications have been the vehicle of choice for most advertisers (see page 14, Portada® No. 15, April/May 2005). Among the top 20 advertisers in Hispanic magazines, only two (Clinique Laboratories Inc. and Ortho McNeil Pharmaceutical) spend 50% of their Hispanic magazine ad budgets on English-language ads. However, the strong trend toward advertising in Spanish and in Spanish-language publications could be reversed due to the increasing number of magazines targeting English dominant Hispanics.