As Portada reported some days ago, Mike Cano has been appointed Publisher of El Latino. The 25-year veteran of the newspaper industry talked with Portada about his future plans for the San Diego-based Hispanic newspaper.
Portada: In what way is the San Diego market different from the markets that your former employer Impremedia covers?
Mike Cano: “The San Diego Hispanic market is a treasure. I believe that it complements other impreMedia markets. Although San Diego ranks #11 in top US Hispanic markets, it ranks as #10 when ranked by income. If combined with bordering Tijuana, the market would rank as #4. San Diego is a powerful Hispanic market and should be given greater focus by national advertisers. El Latino does a wonderful job"
P: You are a pioneer in the Hispanic print media sector. What have the main changes been since you started working in this sector 25 years ago?
M.C.: “The main change has been the move to digital. Although not many and even the largest companies have not found ways yet to monetize their online products, I’m convinced that some will in the next 24 months. On the print side, I believe the quality and accountability has increased significantly for those Spanish print products that have managed to survive. As a result, advertisers are getting move value and better results for their investments in print."
P: What are in your opinion, the main differences, regarding opportunities and challenges between the Hispanic and general market newspaper markets?
M.C.: “I believe the key difference is the incredible loyalty that Hispanic readers still have for print products. I find that newspapers that have lost circulation have done so because it’s a business decision or part of their overall strategies and not because of lower consumer demand for their product. I am convinced that for many years we will have a demand for quality local Hispanic print products.”
P: What objectives does El Latino San Diego have in the realm of national advertising (ROP and FSI)?
M.C.: “We have a powerful story to tell national advertisers about San Diego and El Latino. Not only because the market could be ranked as a top 5 market when including Tijuana, but San Diego is a highly developed and affluent Hispanic community. Additionally, we will be making some product improvements in print and online for 2010. One of the key improvements will be our redesign. Starting in January, El Latino will come out with a new 6 column redesigned tab format. The product will have enhanced feature for both readers and advertisers. Our objective is to deliver greater value to our advertising partners.”
P: Some Hispanic newspapers set their online revenue share in % of overall revenues as high as 30%, how high is this for El Latino. And what is El Latino's digital strategy?
M.C.: “Early next year, El Latino will be launching a new online product. If we are able to attract the viewers to our online and mobile products, we believe we can grow our online revenue by double digits in the next couple of years.”
P: You come from a relatively large company, Impremedia, what is the advantage of not being part of a relatively large organization like El Latino. Can you move faster?
M.C.: “Moving quickly and shortening the decision making process is certainly one of the advantages. Independent local based products like El Latino are inheritably wired to move fast. What we lack in resources we make up in creativity and sweat. We are able to conceptualize projects and turn around them around in hours not days or weeks. The other advantage is that because everyone in our organization is Hispanic and we have deep connections to the local community, we are well positioned to serve our readers and advertisers. El Latino is still a Hispanic family owned newspaper. In fact, it is the largest Hispanic owned Spanish-language newspaper in California. It is fully Hispanic operated and has deep connections to the San Diego Hispanic community.”
P: Going into 2010 where do you see the main growth categories in national advertising?
M.C.: We will be delivering improved print and online products for 2010. We are looking to growing across all categories next year. National will be one of our key focused categories. In fact, we will be increasing the size of our sales team. At a time when companies are reducing or outsourcing their staffs, we are looking at bringing in additional new talent.
P: Do you have any local search initiatives going on in El Latino?
M.C.: “We do not have a local search initiative at this time but we are in talks with several possible partners for this type of product.”