Phoenix Buys Stake In Spanish-Language Newspaper

Hoping to tap into Boston's growing Hispanic population, Phoenix Media/Communications Group, the parent company of The Boston Phoenix has purchased a 35 percent stake in El Planeta, the largest Spanish language weekly newspaper in the Boston area. Terms of the deal between Phoenix Media/Communications Group and the Hispanic News Press of Brookline, which publishes El Planeta, weren't disclosed.

El Planeta, a free newspaper distributed in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, has a weekly circulation of about 40,000. The Phoenix is an alternative weekly paper that publishes editions in Boston, Providence, R.I., and Portland, Maine.

The partnership reflects the growing belief that Hispanics, the country's largest minority group, are an underutilized market for mainstream media outlets that try to reverse circulation declines.

Javier Marin, editor of El Planeta and a co-founder of Hispanic News Press, said Phoenix Media's investment would allow the newspaper, launched in May 2004, to grow more quickly, improve its print technology resources and gain access to national advertising accounts.

Marin also said it was a great opportunity for Phoenix media to enter a different market. He noted that the U.S. Hispanic advertising market has grown 12 percent in the past year, compared to the 2 percent growth in the national media market.