The State of Latin American Newspaper Advertising, according to GDA and Clarin

What: The challenge that newspapers and other print media face in Latin America to stay afloat through selling advertising.
Why It Matters: Brands are increasingly focused on the relevance of having a presence on digital media, also in Latin America.  but the decline  of print media is somewhat slower in Latin America compared to the United States.
According to a PWC Global study published in 2014, ad spending in print media in Latin America had reached US$4.8 billion, although that number has decreased by 3% annually since 2009.

Tomas Salvagni, the manager of the commercial division at Grupo Clarín and Guido Conterno, executive director of Grupo Diarios America,  agree that although print media is stalling, it is still an important advertising vehicle for brands.

“In Latin America, the impact of the industry crisis came by the end of 2013 and 2014,” explains Conterno. “There, we started to see a real change, one as significant as those in Europe and the U.S.”

The industry’s fall isn’t all that surprising, though. The challenges that international print media face are many. On the one hand, there is the surge of digital media, where all buyers want a presence, but consumer habits have also changed, and they don’t necessarily seek the same content on the same platforms as they used.

Guido Conterno

Plus, new graphic concepts and ways to display information have emerged, Salvagni and Conterno agree. That is why for print media to stay relevant it is key to adapt to new trends.

No more Church and State?

What’s more, the way that advertising is presented has changed. Before, editorial and commercial were separated by a clear line. Now, strategies like content marketing have revolutionized the concept of journalistic content.

“In the creative part, you can be more aggressive from a graphic design point of view. Content is more audacious, and there are ad formats that are more embedded and less intrusive,” admits Conterno.

Just as design and content have evolved, so have advertisers. Many have migrated to the digital world, but there are still “economic sectors that digitalize more quickly than others,” says Conterno. “For example, the auto industry has been quicker than retail, while education still uses a great deal of print.”

Tomas Salvagni

Tomas Salvagni

Clarín still finds the great majority of its advertising through advertisers from the service, banking and textile industries, admits Salvagni.

But print media doesn’t want to fall behind, so many properties that were born 100% in print, have substantially developed their own digital channels and have added them to their offerings for advertisers. “We offer combos to everyone that buys advertising,” says Conterno. “Our sales forces are all multi-platform and offer both media.”

The same happens at Clarín, where “the commercial team has a very complex portfolio and the advertiser can choose multiple platforms.” Most of this strategy is related to integrating print with other supporting platforms.

“It seems like we are going against the current,” believes Salvagni. “Agencies believe that everything has to be digital. But it could just be a fad.”