Last weekend signified a major change for the Fort Worth Star Telegram Spanish-language newspaper venture. Diario La Estrella, launched in 1994 as a weekly that went daily in 2003, is returning to a weekend schedule. In addition, the McClatchy-owned newspaper (after its purchase by Knight Ridder in 2006) will start publishing a weekly TMC product (Total Market Coverage: circ. 90,000). A Q & A with Bill Vincent, business director at La Estrella.
P: Please explain the main features of your two new print products.
BV: The regular weekly newspaper La Estrella, which was launched last weekend March 24th -25th, has a 50,000 circulation and is distributed on Fridays and Saturdays. Its page count is between 40 and 48 pages. It is distributed primarily in racks (32,000), 8,000 are directly delivered to homes in high density Hispanic neighborhoods and an additional 10,000 are placed in racks at Special Traders Village in Grand Prairie (Dallas County).
The other product, is called La Estrella en Casa and will be launched in May 5th. It is a more advertising driven product that will be direct mailed to 90,000 homes. It will have 8 to 12 pages. Its editorial will emphasize sport and entertainment.
Before the switch to a weekly newspaper and to the TMC product (La Estrella en Casa) – the last daily Diario La Estrella was published on March 17th – we had a combined weekly circulation of 120,000 (Tuesday to Friday 20,000 and Saturday’s, 40,000). Now the weekly newspaper has a circulation of 140,000 (90,000 La Estrella en casa and 50,000 La Estrella).
P: What was the main driver behind this change in strategy?
BV: There were a few drivers. First, newspapers offer analysis; they don’t break news anymore. Second, owing to the makeup of the community our newspaper is serving, Diario La Estrella had a much stronger pickup rate during weekends than during weekdays. Third, a significant portion of advertising revenues, about 50%, was placed in the weekend product. So what we have done is to put our strength in the weekend basket by strengthening our weekend product.
P: Do you see an increased response by weekend advertisers?
BV: We have seen very consistent demand by advertisers for a weekend home delivered product. Particularly in the furniture stores, electronics and department stores categories. Most of them are interested in FSIs (preprints), although there has been substantial interest in ROP too.
Many advertisers are discovering that in today's busy culture, people thinking about weekend activities are not thinking about going to a rack and picking up a newspaper.
La Estrella will maintain the same rates Diario La Estrella had (National CPM $114). La Estrella en Casa will have very aggressive rates: CPM $58. National and major advertisers (national chains) have represented 60% of total revenues for Diario la Estrella.
P: Do you expect to cut costs as a result of this change?
BV: There will be a reduction of expensive newsprint during the weekend. Six positions on the editorial staff were affected. Editorial staff will continue to run editorial under the direction of David Sedenio, publisher, and Juan Antonio Ramos, Executive Editor. They will also supply info for La Estrella en casa.
There will be no changes in advertising sales. One of the reasons is that most revenue opportunities are coming up during the weekend. The chances to have a more viable business are much better with the move we have made.
P: Will your Internet strategy change?
BV: We are taking a look at having an increased presence on the Internet. Diario la Estrella– www.diariolaestrella.com — is still a daily, just on the Internet.