Four Spanish-language free weeklies have joined together to create a national ad-sales network, expanding their combined circulation by 500,000 copies (see box). The network's strategy will rely on home delivery as opposed to single-copy sales (stores and street racks).

Members of the new network include San Francisco's El Mensajero, Los Angeles's Impacto-USA, El Económico until last November (Media News Group), San Diego's Enlace (Copley Press Inc.) and a new weekly published by New York based Daily News which is set to be launched in March (see article below). Other weekly newspapers, especially those in the Chicago area, are considering joining the new network, which will be represented by Latino Newspaper Network, based in Naperville, Illinois, and led by Ernest “Skip” Westerhold who has a majority stake in El Mensajero>

Home delivery, everyone's doing it

According to research by Latino Newspaper Network, print media advertisers favor home-delivery of free newspapers as opposed to the single copy sales. Newspaper inserts, which are popular advertising vehicles, tend to fall out before the reader gets the paper home.

Last October, Enlace, published by the San Diego Union Tribune (Copley Press), started home delivery of 60,000 copies in San Diego and Southern California, in addition to the 25,000 copies distributed on streets and store racks. The new weekly newspaper set to be launched by New York based Daily News in March (see below) will also emphasize home delivery. Until last October, El Mensajero had a distribution breakdown of 20,000 home delivery and 40,000 rack. Since then, circulation has increased to 150,000 – 130,000 home delivery, 20,000 rack.

Last November, Impacto USA increased its circulation from 100,000 to 250,000 copies, mostly through home-delivery. Single copy sales of these free weeklies will be maintained only to augment major home-delivery distribution. Latino Newspaper Network's ad-sales alliance will have a flexible approach towards the needs of national advertisers. A one order one bill national buy for the whole network will be offered, but advertisers will also be able to target a particular geographic area (e.g. east coast or just the San Diego market). According to El Mensajero publisher Jose C. Del Castillo, many aspects of the new ad-sales network, such as CPMs charged, are still being discussed.

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