Despite rumors to the contrary, Spanish media conglomerate Grupo Prisa has no plans to develop or acquire print media properties in the US Hispanic market, company executives told Portadatm. Prisa was also named as a potential suitor for Argentinean paper La Nación, but according to sources at the company, Latin American print media properties are not on their shopping list either.
Pedro García Guillén, general director at the Spanish daily El País, Prisa's flagship publication, told Portadatm that the group might expand into these markets if newspaper prices in Latin American or US Hispanic markets were sharply discounted. As an example of such a purchase, he cited the 2000 acquisition of a minority stake in the Bolivian media group Garafulic.
Prisa's only other presence in Latin American print media (excluding book publishing) are two Mexican magazines. Rolling Stone (circ. 120,000), licensed from US based Wenner, was launched at the end of 2002 by Prisa's subsidiary Progresa Mexico. Sólo Para Ti (circ. 100,000), a free monthly, was launched in August of last year. Prisa also prints 2,000 copies of El País in Buenos Aires and 5,000 copies in Mexico City>
Radio and audiovisual media (TV, cable) are at the center of Prisa's international strategy. Grupo Latino de Radio (GLR) is the central pillar of the group's pan-regional strategy, with 400 member stations in the U.S. and Latin America – including Caracol Radio (Colombia), Consorcio Radial Chileno (Chile), W Radio (Mexico), GLR Costa Rica, Caracol-Miami and Caracol-Panamá – and an audience of 15 million.
According to Jaime de Polanco, CEO of Prisa Internacional, Grupo Latino de Radio "has been able to sell panregional advertising to brands such as Mastercard".
Garafulic, the Bolivian exception.
After a tough legal battle with prior owners of Garafulic, Prisa recently gained total control of the group's assets, including the television channel ATB, the daily La Razón, circulation leader in Bolivia, and the newspapers El Nuevo Día and Extra. Prisa is working to create three national Bolivian music radio stations. Radio is popular in Bolivia because it is cheap and accessible to even the poorest communities, whose homes often lack electricity. It is also effective in reaching the country's illiterate, who account for about half of Bolivia's 8.5 million citizens. Radio is the main advertising vehicle followed by newspapers. The Bolivian advertising market volume is US $26 million and Garafulic controls 40% of that market.