What Conditions Need to be in Place to Launch a Successful Spanish-language Publication?

A Portada® roundtable with publishers of Hispanic newspapers:

Digby Solomon-Diez (publisher Hoy, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles):“You need a market with a large enough audience of unacculturated Hispanics and enough media spending toward that market to provide you with a profitable daily product. This would generally rule out anything below the top 8 to 10 Hispanic markets in the U.S. for a daily product. The print competition is not a primary consideradion because Hispanic newspapers are so under-represented in Hispanic media advertising budgets that there is considerable room to grow share even with several competitors.”

Edward Schumacher-Matos (CEO and editorial director, Meximerica Media, Diarios Rumbo):
“Before launching any product in any market the demographics of the market must match your target. In the case of RUMBO we chose cities with a high incidence of Spanish-dominant, first and second generation Hispanics that were not yet being served with a high-quality, Spanish-language daily publication. Advertisers can now communicate through RUMBO to reach the Hispanic market in Houston, San Antonio, Austin and the Rio Grande Valley—there has to be a demand from both readers and advertisers.”

Jaime Segura (Publisher, Grupo Ferre, El Nuevo Día Orlando): “A newspaper needs to berelevant to the daily life of the people inthe community.In our specific case, we gained a lot of credibility by giving advice and coverage during last years hurricanes, specially being the link between government, FEMA and the citizens as well as being the first Hispanic newspaper to run a Poll for the Presidential Election”.

Amy Hinojosa (Belo Corp. Al Día, marketing and circulation director at Al Día-Dallas/Ft. Worth): “Large consumer base and rapid growth in Dallas/Ft. Worth – 1.3 million (20%+ of market), 7th largest in U.S. Rapid growth – Since 1990, DFW has been the fastest growing among all the nation's mega cities–only Los Angeles and New York have added more people. As for Hispanics, Dallas and Tarrant counties alone have added more than a half-million Hispanic residents. Language – 70% speak Spanish, and almost half speak only or prefer Spanish. Buying power – $20.8 billion (Synovate 2004 U.S. Hispanic Market Report). Critical mass of advertisers – both local and national, who are targeting the market”

Ricardo Cabrera (7 Días, Advertising Sales Director, TV Net Media Group):“Astrong population base at a minimum of 150,000 thatwill allow a strong retail growth (bodegas etc.), having competitive printing facilities and most of all having agood sales& design teams, format, news coverage and strong editorial policies. Launch the paperinthe large marketof your areafirst and then go to the smaller geographical areas. We think by doing this you gain time and grow faster. Have firsthand knowledge of zip codes and demographics to best serve your readers.”

Kent Kirschner (General Manager, Fronteras, Universal Press Syndicate): Obviously you need to look at numbers first and foremost. Is there a significant number or % of the local community that speaks Spanish at home? If you have this number, the next step would be to be able to get a good idea of the background of the community: are they primarily Mexican/Central American or is it a more diverse community as is the case in South Florida and the New York metro area. Competition is obviously also a consideration but as in any venture a publisher launching something new will have to offer a significant quality advantage that separates themselves from their competitor- 'best to market' is oftentimes more important than 'first to market'.”

Sami Haiman-Marrero (New York Post Tempo, Sales Manager, News Corp.): “Just like at the beginning of all other forms of Hispanic media a couple of decades ago, the identification of an underserved segment of the total U.S. population is what prompted the emergence of Hispanic newspapers. In the case of NYP TEMPO, The NY Post realized two years ago that the mainly English-oriented Latino living in NYC (who are the majority 81%), did not have a mass-print news medium that addressed their cultural and language preferences. The same way African American publications and Gay/Lesbian publications address their readership in-culture and in-English, Tempo delivers the English-orientedLatino newsworthy editorial that is in-culture and in-English. And this is why it's successful.”

Rudy Zaccagno (retail advertising and business manager at the New York Daily News, Hora Hispana): “If it's a non-paid paper the overall growth of the Hispanic community and its ability to reach those households through an effective distribution with very little waste.”

Sergio Salinas (General Manager Conexion, Hearst, San Antonio, General Manager): “Comprehension of the acculturation status/language/lifestyle/origins; Sensitivity to topics of interest; Evaluate need for product; how it could be different from existing products/areas of best reception, evaluate advertiser acceptance; At least 40% Hispanic population with sufficient disposable income to attract advertising; Ability to distribute efficiently.In addition, a critical mass of people that place high value and importance on Hispanic culture and concerns — the connection to culture does not necessarily have to be done in Spanish. Indeed, with regard to Conexion, this was true in San Antonio where the acculturation level is higher than many other markets.”

Joyce Sullivan, (general manager La Palma, Cox Newspapers, Palm Beach): “Of utmost importance, is adequately assessing and meet the needs of the Hispanic audience you are serving. Know your market. Marketing strategies are as unique as the market you serve. With the launch of La Plama, we became immediately aware of the diversity of the audience we were serving. The partially and un-acculturated Hispanics in our market were from many countries of origin, with no clear majority. Our launch, both in print and online, tried to speak to this diversity — from our creative promotional campaign tagline of "The shadow of The Palm covers it all" to our use of every Hispanic nation's flags in our creative execution on billboards and ads as well as links to relevant editorial content on that homeland's news on our web site. Our Hispanic targets, as the fastest-growing minority population, need to be addressed proactively, in their own language, based on whatever research and insight that can be collected locally rather than reactively based on competitive pressures to respond. It's all about building and maintaining valuable relationships with the customers you are serving.”