Life in the Valley

Portada: What is your current circ/distribution/frequency?

Valerie Bender: 162,800 full run circulation. We have have 5 zones, Fresno 50,600, Sacramento 44,700, Modesto 30,000, Stockton 20,000 and Merced 17,500.
Portada: What are some of the more creative options you offer advertisers?
Bender: Fresno specifically has had some success with special theme pages and specific category programs. Twice a month we publish a Health, Beauty & Fitness page geared for health professionals, gyms, beauty salons, etc.
We also publish a Sociales page; readers can send in their wedding, anniversary, event and party photos. We print them free of charge, and we charge advertisers to be on the page. The advantage for advertisers is that their message appears on a highly visible page. Readers love to see photos of themselves and their neighbors.
We just started a non profit program. So many non profits are struggling right now and this program enables them to run a half page ad at a reasonable cost. Many Latinos don't know what resources they have at their disposal and this is an effective way for non profits to educate the Latino public, publicize events or highlight their organization. There is also an online component to this promotion that will stay online throughout the year so readers can refer to it.
Vida en el Valle also has the ability to direct mail an advertiser's message to specific households based on their individual needs. We sell a wide variety of non traditional products including brochures, business cards, menus, rack cards, calendars, posters, etc. Our product diversity continues to grow in importance as the year progresses. Newspapers must view themselves as multi-faceted marketing companies; we aren't just newspapers anymore.
Portada: How do you distinguish yourself from the competition?
Bender: Vida en el Valle is an award-winning publication dedicated to bringing the Central Valley quality journalism. Our bilingual content and creative story layout are unique throughout the industry. On the advertising side we offer full run ads covering 2 DMAs or we insert preprints down to a specific sub zip. Whatever the need of the advertiser, Vida will customize a marketing plan to fit their needs regardless of their budget.
Again, Vida has a variety of ways to reach our market. Print, online, inserts we print on site, special theme pages, tabloids, brochures, fliers, business cards. We also offer market research and analysis and a variety of direct mail products.
Portada:  Has the decline of the US auto industry/ mortgage lending companies affected your ad-revenues? How much, and what have you done to compensate?
Bender: The downturn in the economy has definitely affected ad revenue, both on the local and national level. We are trying to compensate by offering advertisers more options. Although print is still our mainstay, our Web site is beginning to gather steam. Vida en el Valle also offers special automotive and real estate programs along with discount programs for new advertisers, restaurants, pick-up discounts, full page discounts, TOMA ads (small 2 col x 2 inch ad geared for smaller advertisers). Very soon we will be offering various bundles, for example, a bundle would consist of a number of print ads, online banner ads, and inserts we print on site that can be distributed by Zip code.
Portada: Who are your major advertisers?
Bender: Aetna, PG&E, Macy's, Mervyn's, Anheuser Busch, Disneyland, Allstate Insurance, Sears, Kmart, Lowe's, Home Depot
Portada: How integral is your website to your daily operations?
Bender: The Web site is beginning to take off. We've been running online contests for Juanes, Vicente Fernandez, Ricky Martin, George Lopez and others. We also run online contests for tickets to movie premieres and sports events to increase traffic on the site.
Portada: How do you approach your print issue in this era of instant online-accessible news? Do you need to approach it differently from before?
Bender: We use the print edition to move readers to the Web for additional stories, photos and information. While we can't fit everything in print, we can give our readers additional material online. We use Web refers to this material throughout the paper. Because we are bilingual, we also use the Web to highlight Spanish-only stories and fully translated stories.
Portada: What is unique about the Hispanic market that your newspaper serves, demographically, culturally, or in terms of distribution?
Bender: Our market is unique because we are actually producing a newspaper that has five zoned editions, with different content and advertising in each. It is quite a challenge. Most traditional newspapers today don't even have that many editions. We can focus on local, local issues as well as regional and statewide issues that affect all of our readers.