Sounding Off: Nile Wendorf “The Hidden Reach of Hispanic Newspapers”

Conventional media strategy typically believes that television followed by radio is the best way to take your message to market because of their high audience reach. Newspapers are rarely mentioned. While this may be true in the general market, it is far from true in the Hispanic market. Many marketers miss this insight and loose the opportunity to blend the inherent strengths of each media into a more synergistic media plan for the Hispanic market.

In a study completed by the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP) of 11 DMAs, a smart newspaper buy delivers a larger audience than either television or radio in 4 of the 11 markets studied. In another 3 of the 11 markets, newspapers have the second deepest reach in the market. Miami is the only DMA where both radio and TV have a significant reach advantage over newspapers. Not surprisingly, the cost of delivering that reach is always less for newspapers than television and generally comparable to the cost of a radio buy in the market. These conclusions were based upon a one week prototypical multiple newspaper buy in a market compared to a 200 GRP/week spot buy of radio or a 200 GRP/week spot buy of television. In every case, the media planner was charged with trying to buy the deepest reach within the market for the respective media against the GRP target.

Why Hispanic Newspapers Enjoy a Reach Advantage

Newspapers have this advantage because they leverage the Hispanic community by concentrating the distribution of their newspapers where Hispanics live. This chart shows the 11 DMAs included in the study. The dark blue bar represents the percent of the total population that is Hispanic. The red dot represents the percent of total ZIP codes within that DMA that comprises 80% of the total Hispanics. The overall conclusion from this chart is that 80% of the Hispanics in a given DMA live within 20% to 30% of the ZIP codes within that DMA as shown by the light blue band in the chart.

Even well-developed Hispanic markets like Miami, Los Angeles, and Houston still exhibit a very densely populated set of Hispanic neighborhoods. In the case of Los Angeles, Hispanics represent about 44% of the total population, yet 80% of those Hispanics live within 34% of the ZIP codes!

This pattern can only work if Hispanics still read and love their newspapers. A 2008 National Readership Study done by the NAHP in cooperation with Alloy-Access demonstrates the Hispanic commitment to their newspapers. Here are a couple of key findings from that study. First, Hispanic newspaper readers are young with 54% of newspaper readers between the ages of 18 and 34. 84% of Hispanic newspaper readers are below the age of 55. Second, Hispanic newspaper readers are engaged with 86% of Hispanics regularly reading a newspaper. 74% have read 3 of the last 5 issues of their newspaper.

Overall Conclusions

Each type of media has an intrinsic set of strengths and weaknesses when it comes to delivering an audience to its advertisers. The goal of all solid media plans is to leverage those strengths while mitigating the weaknesses. In the case of newspapers, the intrinsic strength is that we distribute our newspapers in the neighborhoods where Hispanics live and shop. We’re the closest media link between a product or service and the neighborhood where a Hispanic is most likely to buy it. Savvy marketers can exploit that link for both their branding efforts as well as promotional efforts. They can undertake these efforts with the confidence that they are reaching deep into the Hispanic market.

Nile Wendorf is currently the Associate Publisher of EXTRA Bilingual Community Newspaper in Chicago, IL. EXTRA’s Publisher, Mila Tellez, founded the newspaper in 1980. Nile and Mila are married. EXTRA is the largest bilingual newspaper in Chicago. He currently serves as the co-chair of the Procurement Committee for the NAHP as well as its Treasurer. He is one of the pioneers of multi-cultural marketing. He received his MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

For more information about the NAHP and the Procurement Committee, please visit and click on the procurement link.