Print media, including newspapers, magazines and yellow pages, accounts for 35% of overall advertising expenditures in the US, excluding direct mail. That percentage is much lower for Hispanic print media, where print advertising accounts for between 15 and 20%, depending on the study.

According to Lisa Contreras, VP director of multicultural advertising at Carat USA in New York, print takes third place with US Hispanics. “They don't spend a lot of time with print,” she notes. Contreras spends approximately 2% of her clients Hispanic advertising budgets on print media ads. Her Pfizer account buys advertising in “health-type” publications such as Selecciones and Prevention en español, and in the main Hispanic metropolitan dailies in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and, sometimes, in Chicago. The Los Angeles-based agency, La Agencia d'Orci spends 8-9% of its advertising budget on ad space in newspapers and national magazines. Ideas-Cruz Kravetz, also in Los Angeles, has not bought magazine advertising during the last few months because their accounts don't seem to require it.

Despite this low overall allocation to newspapers and magazines, some observers are convinced that print media advertising targeting Hispanics will play a more important role in the near future. “I don't buy the argument that Hispanics are TV oriented just because they didn't buy magazines in their countries of origin,” says Andrew Buchholtz, managing director of merchant bank Veronis, Suhler & Stevenson in New York. Some signs clearly point toward growth. Traditional advertisers such as Procter & Gamble, Pepsi and the automobile makers are increasing their Hispanic print media budgets, and new advertisers like Pfizer, Radio Shack and some financial service companies are beginning to buy more space in magazines and newspapers.

Other analysts point out that it will take a lot of work before print media becomes an attractive advertising platform for companies targeting Hispanics. At a recent Newspaper Association of America-GOLD Conference (Growth Opportunities by Leveraging Diversity), Christine Wood, GOLD project director, said that despite the fact that general interest newspapers do reach Hispanics, and that advertising drives readership and gets valuable attention in these markets, the perception among media buyers is that newspapers are not appropriate vehicles for reaching Hispanic audiences. According to Wood, newspapers need to work on changing the perception of media buyers.

Low reach…

The low reach of most Hispanic newspapers and magazines is a major disincentive for advertisers. “The reach levels of TV and radio are significant. This can't be said about even the biggest magazines targeting the Hispanic market,” said Contreras, who manages the Carat USA accounts for the Hispanic market of Radio Shack, Honda Kia, Alberto Culver and Chivas Regal, among others. According to Contreras, “Hispanic magazines are not as sophisticated yet as general market magazines. Few of the magazines and newspapers have a circulation higher than 100,000. The rest of the outlets have circulations divided into bits and pieces – 20,000 here, 10,000 there.”

Contreras also points out that more ad money is being spent on African-American print media, even though Hispanics recently passed African-Americans as the largest minority. “There are many high circulation African-American magazines and there is more research about them,” Contreras explains. Magazines targeted to African-Americans such as Ebony (circulation 1.9 million) or Essence (circ. 1 million) have at least double the circulation of the largest Hispanic magazines. African-American media consumption is easier to analyze. “They watch, hear and read what the general market is watching,” Contreras notes.


The low reach of Hispanic newspapers makes advertising more expensive. To reach an audience of a thousand readers (CPMs) an advertiser has to spend comparatively more for ads in magazines and newspapers, than on network TV, and much more than on radio. Publishers face a particularly big obstacle when trying to sell ad space to big brand, national advertisers who want a wide reach (distribution) for their advertising message. However, local advertisers are keen on reaching Hispanics in specific areas and might be very interested in advertising in local newspapers, even though local radio stations, generally, offer cheaper CPMs. (see chart)

…and fragmented.

According to Sofia Escamilla, media director at La Agencia de Orci & Asociados in Los Angeles, “the print media market is becoming more fragmented, we are dealing with more publications.” La Agencia manages accounts for Honda, Verizon and Allstate. Escamilla notes that print media budgets have not kept pace with the large increase in the number of publications targeting Hispanics. However, even with so many publications, it is still difficult to reach Hispanics on a daily basis in the urban-US. “Only Los Angeles, New York and Miami” have large daily newspapers targeting Spanish-speaking audiences. Other cities just have weeklies and monthlies,” Escamilla asserts.

Operating on assumptions

According to Carat USA's Contreras, “the tools used to judge a media plan in the general US market are just not available for Hispanic print.” Very few magazines are audited and, more importantly, there is almost no third party syndicated research. “In TV there is Nielsen and in radio there is Arbitron, but there is no third party research for Hispanic print,” says Contreras. MRI has not entered the Hispanic market.

“In Hispanic print media, we media buyers operate on assumptions not on facts,” Contreras explains. For the general US print market, you can look at research which tells you which magazines are read by 18-49 year olds with asthma or 18-49 year olds who are planning to buy a car. None of that exists for the Hispanic market.” La Agencia's Sofia Escamilla agrees on the need for good research on Hispanic print media. “Often it is old,” she complains. “There is nothing showing if readership has increased or decreased. Research about Hispanic print media should answer questions about who the readers are and what sections in each publication they read.” She adds that because of the lack of research, “we might be missing out on higher income and higher education Hispanics.”

Lack of circulation auditing is a big issue for other media buyers too. A source at Ideas/Cruz Kravetz in Los Angeles says that whether a newspaper is audited or not can determine whether ad space is purchased in that newspaper. “Sometimes if the newspaper is well known but not audited we still might buy,” the source adds.

However, several advertising expenditures reporting and circulation auditing firms are entering the market for Hispanic print media. TNS Media Intelligence/CMR recently announced that it will launch a new service to monitor Hispanic print media advertising expenditures. By November, TNSMI/CMR will have added 40 new print media properties (magazines and newspapers) to the list that it currently tracks (Latina, Nexos, People en español, RD Selecciones, La Opinión, Diario Las Americas, El Nuevo Herald).

Lack of unique content

According to Escamilla, the lack of “unique and specific content written for Hispanics” makes print media less attrac-tive to media buyers. She acknowledges that large circulation magazines like People en español or Selecciones Readers Digest do have content specifically targeted to Hispanics, but some-times these magazines use adaptations and just repurpose content from their English counterparts. As examples of magazines with unique content that hasn't been “translated” from English, she cites Latina and Urban Latino.

…and unified format specs.

Additionally, to design Hispanic print media ads can cost a lot. “The sizes of the different publications require different creative work,” Sofia Escamilla explains. The additional design work means more costs to the advertising agency which, in turn, are passed on to the advertiser and raise the overall cost of Hispanic print media advertising.

Improve your selling skills…

“Publishers have to do a better job of selling advertising,” notes Sam Verdeja, publisher of Hispanic Magazine. Print media consumption by Hispanics has many positive characteristics which have to be highlighted to media buyers. The Readerhip Institute at the Media>Management Center at Northwestern University in Chicago found out in its 2000 Impact Study that while whites remain the heaviest readers, time spent reading did not differ significantly between ethnic groups. More importantly, the study concluded that ethnic readers spend significantly more time reading advertisements, and many of those who do read newspapers tend to travel, own personal computers and other electronics, carry credit cards and buy expensive jewelry.

…and “speak advertising.”

In order to sell Hispanic print media advertising to mostly white, English-speaking media buyers, publishers have to learn to speak their launguage. A good example of the adaptation required can be seen in the recent hiring of Carol Mintz as vice president of advertising at the Los Angeles-based newspaper, La Opinion. Mintz acknowledges that she does not speak Spanish well, but says that she was hired because she “speaks advertising.”


Portada Staff

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