January 1, 2003:
Parenting magazines: Mamás and Papás are red hot for advertisers

It's a fact. Hispanic families are growing much faster than
theaverage rate of growth for American families. According to statistics from the National Health Center, 20% of all babies born in the US (1 in every 5) are Hispanic. By 2015, the percentage will go up to 25%. Are there print media outlets that target this growing segment of the US population? The answer: a resounding yes. The trend among magazine publishers is to create spin-off products and brand extensions for Hispanic-American parents. Three large publishing houses—Meredith, Gruner + Jahr and Time Inc.—publish magazines with content targeted at young Hispanic families.

“Our research tells us that Hispanic mothers like to see things bilingual,” says Jeff Wellington, publisher of Time Inc.'s Bebé. “The research also shows that they do not want to see a mere translation of our English edition. They want culturally relevant material.” Wellington estimates that revenues from the Hispanic Parenting Category have grown by 25% in 2002. According to Wellington, “consumer companies want to target more and more brands to Spanish speaking audiences.” Procter & Gamble, Kimberly Clark, Colgate Palmolive, Wal-Mart, Babies “R” Us, and Johnson & Johnson are already targeting this growing segment of the US population.The Hispanic Parenting category is starting from a very low base. Bebé had revenues in 2001 of US $500,000. American Baby Groups' Hispanic parenting publications had revenues of “between US$ 1.7 – 2 million. American Baby Group, as a whole had sales of approximately US $65 million.

Strategy 1: Magazines covering different stages of a child's life

American Baby Group puts out three parenting publications targeted at young Hispanic families, Healthy Kids en español, Espera and Primeros 12 meses. The three publications target Spanish-speaking parents during different stages of their children's lives. Espera targets expecting parents (prenatal stage) and emphasizes health, nutrition, and fitness issues for pregnant Hispanic women. Primeros 12 meses focuses on the first 12 months of a child's life covering issues such as feeding, bathing, diapering and soothing. Finally, Healthy Kids en español, covers the span of a child's life from birth to 12 years old. The three publications are written entirely in Spanish by an editorial team of 12 professionals, mostly freelancers, and led by Peruvian editor Joceline Frank. Ahu Terzi, Advertising Director of Spanish Publications at American Baby Group, emphasizes that “100% of the content is culturally relevant, original Spanish content.”

Strategy 2: The Whole Life Editorial approach

Gruner + Jahr USA Group publishes the Hispanic parenting magazine Ser Padres. The Bertelsmann-owned company publishes three parenting magazines (Parents, Parents Expecting and Parents Baby) for the general US market. G+J executives do not think that more than one magazine is necessary to target the Hispanic Parenting category. Jon Andrade, Advertising Sales Manager for Ser Padres, says that a “whole life editorial approach” makes the most sense for a parenting publication addressing the Hispanic market. According to Andrade, “there is no need to segment the market any more.” G+J USA used to publish two other magazines in the Hispanic Parenting category (Una Nueva Vida and Embarazo). Neither magazine was financially viable and both folded five years ago. Andrade does not want to disclose Ser Padres' finances, but states that the magazine is profitable.

As with English language publications, pediatricians and OB/GYNs are the main means of distribution for Hispanic parenting magazines. Ahu Terzi of American Baby Group says that “the pediatrician's office is the best newsstand Healthy Kids en español could have because it reaches Hispanic parents who are interested in finding information about the wellbeing of not only their children, but also their whole family.” There are 36,864 office-based pediatricians in the US. American Baby Group selects 3.000+pediatricians in 10 states with large Hispanic populations. These include California, Florida, Arizona, Texas, Illinois and New York. Pediatricians' average 88.3 office visits per week. That means one issue of Healthy Kids en español has a potential audience of 3,443,700 patients (13 weeks x 88.3 office visits per week x 3,000 pediatricians). Even though pediatricians do not receive compensation for distributing the magazines, distribution is still an important cost factor for publishers. Terzi explains that “the relationship with pediatricians needs to be supervised and audited in a strict way. Pediatricians fill out a survey at the beginning of the year. They specify how many issues they want of each magazine, how many they have distributed in the prior year and what feedback they obtained from their patients.”

A Parenting en español>

Time Inc. is currently exploring the possibility of publishing Parenting en español for the US Hispanic market. Time Inc. already publishes Parenting-México, a Mexican edition of its US Parenting magazine. Paul Ordoñez, Production Associate at Time Inc. in New York, explains that Parenting-México is produced as part of a franchise agreement with the Mexican publishing house Notmusa. The editor and assistant editor work out of México City. Parenting-Mexico's content is 90% translated from the US edition and 10% added locally.

It has a circulation of 30,000 and is sold through subscriptions and newsstands.

Language and cultural similarities make Latin America an interesting expansion ground for these companies. However, American Baby Group does not have any plans to expand into Latin America. “We are not even present in Puerto Rico,” Ahu Terzi says. “Perhaps we will be looking into Latin America later on. However, our pediatrician-based distribution system makes it necessary to study in detail the regulations and sanitary laws in each of these countries.”


Portada Staff

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