Impremedia’s decision last week to shutter the print edition of Hoy NY sent shockwaves through an industry already tenuous about what the new year will have in store, as print media experiences its most tumultuous period in recent memory.
The news came on the heels of Tribune’s bankruptcy filing last month, and prompted Tribune—which owns Hoy Chicago and Hoy LA—to release a statement affirming its plans to continue publishing those titles.
In a statement sent to industry executives, Tribune made its position clear: “Since its February 2007 sale to ImpreMedia, Hoy New York has been a separate financial, editorial and operating entity from Hoy Chicago and Hoy Los Angeles. There are no plans to discontinue Tribune owned Hoy Chicago or Hoy Los Angeles.”
The statement went on to note that both Hoy Chicago and Hoy LA are reporting revenue and circulation growth for 2008 and added that “In 2009, Hoy Chicago and Hoy LA will continue to grow by offering readers and advertisers more and better products and services such as the recently launched www.ViveloHoy.com, a national web destination with channels covering everything from news and entertainment to music videos. Tribune Company also owns and operates two of the leading Hispanic weeklies in Florida through The Sun Sentinel; El Sentinel Orlando and El Sentinel Ft. Lauderdale.”
Two’s a Crowd?
While Impremedia has expressed its intention to continue Hoy NY online, its closing of the print edition last week does raise the question of whether there is room enough for two Spanish-language dailies in the New York DMA.
Javier Castaño, who was Hoy NY’s Editor until December 30th when the paper closed, believes there is sufficient demand: “There is plenty of space for more Spanish publications, daily and weekly,” says Castaño. “Remember that a few years ago there were three dailies in town: El Diario/La Prensa, Hoy Nueva York and Noticias del Mundo. The Latino population keeps growing and for many years they have asked for better and more sophisticated publications. Free daily publications have a future and someone only has to look at examples like AM New York or ADN in Spain and Latin America. But this free formula requires investment and sophistication in the handling of the news.”
Rossana Rosado, Editor of Impremedia’s other NY daily Diario/La Prensa framed the issue of paid circulation as being pivotal: “In a tough economic climate, advertisers have consistently chosen El Diario’s paid circ over a free daily,” she tells Portada.
Castaño also touched on the issue of paid circulation, saying that making Hoy paid could have potentially saved it: “We were supposed to go back to a pay circulation of 25 cents per copy or increase the free distribution to around 60,000 copies daily. Any of these two formulas would have made Hoy Nueva York the number one daily Spanish newspaper in the Big Apple, again,” Castaño tells Portada.
Cause and Effect…
So how will Hoy’s closing affect El Diario? According to the paper’s editor, Rossana Rosado, “We believe that ceasing publication of the print version of Hoy NY will have a positive impact on El Diario La Prensa, as some of Hoy’s readers will pick up the paid product. Some regional and local clients have already moved over into El Diario. Fin de Semana will also be on line. In addition, we will continue to offer advertisers our residential walk program which delivers FSIs to up to 1.4 million households in NY on a weekly basis. 200,000 of those households are in zipcodes where Hispanics are 70% of the population.”
While El Diario La Prensa covers roughly the same geographic footprint as Hoy did, Rosado tells Portada that they will seek to fill in any gaps that have resulted in the wake of the closing.
Whether or not another Hispanic daily will appear to challenge El Diario remains unclear; in this climate it is difficult to imagine. In the short term, however, the facts are plain: Advertisers who want to target New York Hispanics through print won’t have much trouble deciding whom to call.