Recently one of my clients cautiously asked my opinion about the future prospects of Hispanic publishing. I told him for many publishers the Hispanic publishing industry outlook was bright and profitable.
The publisher that asked me this question said, “I hope you are right and you prove most naysayers wrong.”
It has taken many years of hands-on experience for me to be so confident and overly optimistic, especially in light of where the economy is today. Like nearly every sector, the publishing industry has been hit hard over the past several years. Hispanic and general market publishers have seen revenues declines by as much as 40%, and in some extreme cases even higher.
My positive answer on the future of Hispanic publishing industry did not come without some dismal realities. The facts speak for themselves. We have all seen the decline in revenues that has resulted in dramatic cutbacks in newsrooms, production and even in ad sales staffs. There are publishers out there who are living week-to-week and barely managing to keep the doors open.
I’ve been in the Newspaper industry for nearly 30 years, and have been fortunate to have been an insider with the largest and best known Hispanic and general market publications in the nation.
Certainly not all Hispanic publications will survive dramatic revenue declines. We will continue to see some markets that will continue to lose Hispanic print publications. Yet, there are several reasons to be upbeat concerning the likelihood of many bright and profitable futures for Hispanic publishers. Looking from the inside of several large Hispanic and general market publications for many years, I’ve seen some trends worth noting.
Many Hispanic operators have been very successful diversifying their revenue streams. These forward thinking Hispanic publishers have wisely increased their portfolios of product offerings. Other Hispanic publications are busy adapting extremely well to the online space and have profitable digital strategies.
In many cases, Hispanic publishers are better positioned to capture online revenue than their general market counterparts. One significant reason for this dynamic is Hispanic publications are far more nimble making decisions and moving quickly on digital opportunities. Many times larger organizations have a hard time moving ahead due to internal politics or underestimating opportunities.
The most successful Hispanic publishers have learned that if they are going to survive and thrive during a tough economy, they must offer advertisers multiplatform product solutions. This includes building portfolios that offer powerful print, online and event marketing products so their advertisers can reach their potential consumers most effectively.
Another competitive advantage are those Hispanic publications that are family owned and operated. It’s common to see publications that are run by family members to sacrifice margins some showing they are willing to endure the pain of economic recessions and industry changes for a longer duration than corporations. These Hispanic publications are committed and truly live the mission of delivering quality news and ad content to the communities they serve.
There is every reason to believe that Hispanic publications that offer quality local content in print and digital platforms will thrive and grow in the future. All indicators show that our Hispanic community’s population base will continue to grow in numbers. The demand for local quality content will also grow along with the population expansion. Smart Hispanic publishers continue to position themselves as caring leaders in the communities they serve.
While serving these communities, sharp Hispanic publishers must learn to better leverage and sell their “total audience” reach to local and national advertisers. In order to accomplish this, Hispanic publications must position themselves as “media companies” that include multiplatform solutions for advertisers.
The key ingredient for growth and sustainable profitability will depend on Hispanic Publishers who can recruit and sustain strong business minded leadership. There must be an investment in training their employees and expanding their product solutions. Ad sales teams need to be better sellers than the competition so publishers can maximize their revenue generating capabilities. They especially need to be effective sellers to national advertisers with a strong strategic plan. As an industry, Hispanic publications need to promote the value of their audience and collaboratively prove to national advertisers why we deserve a greater share of their ad budgets.
Mike Cano is recognized nationwide as a leading Hispanic Sales and Marketing consultant and trainer. He has spent over 25 years developing successful Hispanic print and online selling solutions. Cano has worked in key leadership positions as President, Publisher, General Manager, and Vice President of Sales and Marketing for notable Hispanic media companies.