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In 2015 major retailers have transferred FSI (Free Standing Inserts in Newspapers, circulars, or preprints) dollars to digital advertising, and are studying results for future advertising commitments. A round-up about how this situation is playing out in the Hispanic newspaper market.

Hispanic NewspapersThe FSI business, an ad-category that has been relatively shielded from the general decline in newspaper advertising, has lately also seen significant declines. Walmart’s decision earlier this year to cut its overall FSI advertising by 50% has definitely played a role. Says, Zulema Tijero, Advertising Manager at El Tiempo Latino, owned by The Washington Post: “Due to Walmart scaling back on their preprint, our preprint business has declined for 2015 about 30%, but our local business has grown specially in the arts/entertainment categories.” Tijero adds that the FSI business is declining because it’s a huge expense to print the FSI, therefore advertisers are moving dollars to online.
“Big box retailers appear to have made a real strong effort on Cyber Monday offerings and have transferred FSI dollars to digital, and are studying results for future advertising commitments, luckily impreMedia is in a position to capture many of the transferred dollars as a result of our digital offerings,” notes George Ayala, ‎VP Advertising Eastern Region at impreMedia, a major Hispanic newspaper publisher.

Tangible Offers

Newspaper CouponsPrinting substantial runs of preprint advertising can cost up to US$ 1 million per run, but FSI’s remain a key way for advertisers to obtain reach, which digital media often cannot give them.) Even with the circulation declines at major newspapers inserts still land in about 50 million households, according to Borrell Associates, a market-research firm. impreMedia’s Ayala notes that, despite less business from big-box retailers,”FSI’s have been just slightly stronger (than ROP advertising) for the following reasons: They allow customers to have a tangible printed piece they can hold on to until they are ready to purchase. Some companies feel customers are feeling a bit overwhelmed and confused with the many online offerings. Also FSI real estate allows you to show multiple offerings on one page and most newspaper companies including impreMedia allow you to distribute FSI at zip code level providing great cost efficiencies.” Ayala notes that the strongest category in FSI’s are Grocery &; Telecom.

Some companies feel customers are feeling a bit overwhelmed and confused with the many online offerings. FSI’s allow companies to provide customers with a tangible offer, customers can hold on to and use when they are ready to purchase.

Switch Back from Digital to Print in 2016?

“We feel engaging the Hispanic consumer through culturally relevant print remains the most effective approach available in terms of advertising cost and advertising results. Most of our major advertisers have expressed disappointment with the results of digital experimentation in 2015 and the quarterly results for advertisers that cut back on print back up this assessment,” a Hispanic newspaper publisher tells Portada. “Experienced marketing directors know that most digital audience numbers in Hispanic are dreadful. Most also understand that attempting to engage the Hispanic consumer (regardless of generation) through general market media is the exact opposite of cultural engagement,” he adds.

“I would say FSI are almost always stronger than ROP and this year is no different. Retail advertisers mostly are to account for FSI revenue. They are also loyal and frequent advertisers. Consumers love shopping from their weekly circulars and the return on investment to the advertiser shows it,” says Anita Grace, an advertising sales executive who sells into newspapers including The Brownsville Herald, La Voz de Arizona and Excelsior/La Prensa Riverside says that

Homero MartinezHomero Martinez (photo), general manager of the Dallas Morning News Spanish-language publications,”FSIs continue to be a strong and effective way for advertisers to reach consumers. Even with all the different forms of advertising out there, very few are as tried and true as FSIs. Furniture, Grocery, Retail, Home Improvement, and Telecom are strong players.” Andres Valdes, National Sales Manager at the Houston Chronicle, claims that within the preprint FSI vehicle big-box retail is the largest category and Quick Services Restaurantes (QSRs) the weakest. The Dallas Morning News Homero Martinez agrees, “Sit-down restaurants and QSRs are a couple that we’d love to see more.”

Hispanic newspaper circulation, contrary to the vast majority of general market newspaper circulation, is actually up. It grew by 4 percent last year for 31 weekly Spanish-language newspapers examined by Pew Research Center in a recent report. This trend reflects the great appetite for reliable, local news among Hispanics.

What: Freedom News Group Spanish-language weekly Unidos en el Sur de California, which was introduced last year by combining the circulation of Excelsior and La Prensa, is now reviving both brands. Freedom News Group is reintroducing its weekly Spanish-language UNIDOS newspaper as two distinctly local editions: La Prensa and Excélsior.
Why it matters: Media brands that are recognized and appreciated by local audiences and the ad-community are very important assets. Freedom News Group is recognizing that and “reviving the Excelsior and La Prensa brands.

Hispanic NewspapersWhen Freedom News Group “killed” the Excelsior and La Prensa brands by launching Unidos en el Sur de California in March last year, several observers who preferred to remain anonymous at the time told Portada, that they did not think it was a good idea to eliminate two established brands from both the audience and advertiser perspective. Now the leadership of Freedom News Group has realized that too: “To actively engage and better serve the 3.3 million Latinos that live and work in Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange counties, Freedom News Group is reintroducing its weekly Spanish-language UNIDOS newspaper as two distinctly local editions – La Prensa and Excélsior – starting today,” the company said.

We discovered we were fighting our legacy a bit, and needed to embrace their local identities again in the same way our communities have from the beginning.

“The brands have always had a reference on the masthead-stated as ‘anteriormente La Prensa’ and ‘anteriormente Excélsior’ following the UNIDOS name change last year,” Orlando Ramirez, publisher of La Prensa and Excélsior,, tells Portada. “We discovered we were fighting our legacy a bit, and needed to embrace their local identities again in the same way our communities have from the beginning. La Prensa and Excélsior have nearly 40 years of combined history. Readers and advertisers come to trust and recognize them,” Ramirez adds.

La Prensa, founded in 1999, concentrates on news and information specific to Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Excelsior, founded in 1992, focuses on Orange County. “If there’s a regional, national or international story that applies to Latinos in both markets, the stories may be the same but have different quote sources, market-specific photos and many other local elements,” says Ramirez.

Additionally, the newspapers will also launch local websites on ocexcelsior.com and laprensaca.com websites this summer, leveraging a mobile-friendly platform that delivers market-specific content and location-based advertising. According to Ramirez, “Digital is an area of high interest and opportunity, particularly on the mobile front. We recognize the importance of a strong digital component and will evolve our online offerings as part of a second phase of enhancements this summer. The priority was to bring local focus back to the print brands—Excelsior and La Prensa—first and then turn attention to digital in the coming months.” Ramirez, a 33-year journalism veteran in Southern California, will be hosting Meet the Publisher events with Latino leaders at the newspapers’ offices to explain how they can be more actively involved and engaged with their local newspapers.

Total Friday circulation for the two newspapers is 170,000. La Prensa distributes 95,000 copies in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, and the eastern tip of Los Angeles County. Excélsior distributes 75,000 copies in Orange County. Both papers are distributed across nearly 3,000 rack and retail locations.

Discontinued Los Angeles Distribution

As part of a renewed local focus in serving core Inland Empire and Orange County markets, Freedom News Group refined its distribution footprint. It pared down distribution in outlying Los Angeles and Coachella Valley areas, and increased distribution in high-traffic rack locations in the core Inland Empire and Orange County markets. “For example, Excelsior added 36,000 additional copies in top-performing distribution locations within South Orange County. That said, La Prensa still has distribution in high-density Latino communities within Eastern Los Angeles County,” says Ramirez.

Ad Sales

Freedom News Group sales teams, both local retail reps and national account reps, will sell the two newspapers from offices in Riverside and Santa Ana. “On the national level, we have a veteran multicultural sales specialist, Anita Grace, who represents La Prensa and Excélsior in front of national and global brands. She has been part of Freedom’s Spanish-language strategy for several years.
According to Ramirez, the categories that are the most promising include “Consumer categories including apparel, grocery, electronics, personal finance and telecommunications are key categories. Among our existing advertising partners are Walmart, JC Penney, Target, Best Buy, CVS and Wells Fargo.”

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