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What: Digital First Media, owner of the Los Angeles Daily News, will purchase Freedom Communications’ Orange County Register and Riverside Press Enterprise.
Why it matters: Tribune Publishing won the bid offering US$56 million in cash for the business of Freedom Communications and its owned real estate in Santa Ana, California and Riverside, California. But a federal judge filed a complaint due to monopoly concerns.

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Freedom Communications, the bankrupt owner of the Orange County Register and Press-Enterprise of Riverside, has decided to sell to Digital First Media after a judge blocked a higher bid by Tribune Publishing, the owner of the Los Angeles Times, a Freedom attorney said Saturday.

Freedom will ask a federal bankruptcy judge on Monday to confirm and approve the sale to Digital First, which owns the Los Angeles Daily News and eight other daily papers in the greater Los Angeles area. The deal will close by March 31, Freedom attorney William Lobel said in an email.

Digital First was the runner-up bidder for Freedom at $45.5 million (Tribune had bid US$ 56 million).
Freedom filed for bankruptcy last year following a failed effort led by investor Aaron Kushner, who bought the group in 2012 and invested heavily in print, leaving aside digital media.

The prospective takeover of the Freedom properties is Digital First’s second major move in California in the last three weeks. The Denver-based company earlier announced it would consolidate six daily newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area into two, one serving Oakland and the East Bay and the other Silicon Valley. In the East Bay, The Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune, The Daily Review and The Argus will become the new East Bay Times. The San Jose Mercury News and the San Mateo County Times will become the Mercury News.

Government Files Monopoly Complaint

A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking a planned sale to Tribune Publishing, owner of the Los Angeles Times, over antitrust concerns. According to the government’s complaint, filed in Los Angeles federal court, The Times and the Register together account for 98 percent of newspaper sales in Orange County and the Los Angeles Times and Freedom’s newspapers together account for 81 percent of English-language newspaper sales in Riverside County. The Tribune Company also owns the San Diego Tribune. Tribune’s acquisition of its most significant competitor would give it a monopoly over newspaper sales in each county and allow it to increase subscription prices, raise advertising rates and invest less to maintain the quality of its newspapers.

Spanish-language Properties

The unlikely purchase of the OC Register and the The Press Enterprise by Tribune Publishing also blocks plans to expand Tribune’s Spanish-language newspaper footprint, recently expanded with the renaming of Enlace San Diego to Hoy San Diego, to Riverside and Orange County.
The Press Enterprise’s Spanish-language weekly La Prensa and the Orange County Register’s Spanish-language weekly Excelsior will now be part of Digital First Media.

Industry observers interviewed by Portada noted that it is only a matter of time until the Los Angeles Times, owned by Tribune Publishing, buys the financially-troubled Freedom Communications or, at least, its most coveted asset, Orange County Register, which publishes Spanish-language newspaper Excelsior. Last Friday, things looked like they were heading in that direction when Tribune Publishing told a federal bankruptcy judge that it was willing to loan US $3 million to fund the bankruptcy case of Freedom Communications in exchange for the right to bid for Freedom’s flagship publication, the Orange County Register, during any future sale process. Why is Tribune Publishing interested in Freedom’s assets and what would a consolidation mean for Hispanic media? Portada takes a look at four key factors.

1. Is Freedom Communications Financially Viable?

Freedom CommunicationsNo, not in its current form and debt levels. For this reason Freedom Communications filed for Chapter 11 protection last week to restore the company’s fiscal footing and dramatically reduce debt incurred under previous leadership in 2013 and 2014. The aggressive expansion led by Freedom Communications’ former CEO and investor, Aaron Kushner (whose deal included the purchase of the Press Enterprise from Belo Newspapers as well as the launch of a new daily for Los Angeles that was later discontinued) was associated with high costs and substantial debt. Current CEO and Publisher Rich Mirman has stepped forward with several local investors to bid to purchase Freedom. Freedom Communications spokesman Eric Morgan said, “Rich is confident his bid to secure the business will be successful — and we will continue to strengthen our position as the leader in providing local news and information in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties in 2016….As Rich alludes to in the letter to employees, we have delivered strong results to the point that Freedom is on pace to turn a modest profit in 2015.”

2. Tribune’s Interest in Dominating Southern California

Tribune PublishingAs an industry consolidator and leader in the Southern Californian print and digital market (The Los Angeles Times, Hoy Los Angeles and recently-acquired San Diego Union Tribune are some of Tribune’s properties), Tribune is very interested in acquiring Freedom Communications’ assets, which include the Press Enterprise based in Riverside, its Hispanic newspaper La Prensa and the Orange County Register, based in Excelsior. The Orange County Register is of particular interest to Tribune due to its strong market position, which is why it is interested in loaning Freedom Communications the money necessary for its bankruptcy case under the aforementioned conditions. Tribune lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal told U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Mark S. Wallace that Tribune wants an “opportunity to bid at a fair, open, transparent proceeding” should the Register undergo a sales process. As one observer told Portada, “In Southern California, Tribune now owns the San Diego Union Tribune down to the South and the Los Angeles Times in the North. The Register is sandwiched in-between these larger newspapers and has nowhere to grow. ”

In Southern California, Tribune now owns the San Diego Union Tribune down to the South and the Los Angeles Times in the North. The Orange County Register is sandwiched in between these larger newspapers and has nowhere to grow.

3. Has Freedom Made the Most of the Hispanic Opportunity?

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In California, Hispanics now outnumber whites, and Hispanic-targeted media should be a keystone of any media group’s strategy: even more so because most Hispanic print media properties are community newspapers, a sector that has been relatively shielded from the negative revenue trends of the large metropolitan dailies.
But has Freedom really focused and invested in its Hispanic properties? Initially, Freedom unified the La Prensa and Excelsior products into one newspaper called Unidos in Southern California. However, a year later it went back to publishing the La Prensa and Excelsior publications independently. Industry experts tell Portada that on the Hispanic side, Freedom’s move to bring back Excelsior and La Prensa have not worked. They have failed to connect to the Hispanic community and advertisers, primarily because they have not dedicated the necessary people or resources to reaching out to the Hispanic community.
Perhaps certain neglect for Hispanic-targeted editorial products can best be expressed by the fact that the Orange County Register decided to paint over a cultural mural that depicted Hispanics in the Santa Ana community. The mural had been on the wall of what was the Excelsior building for more than 15 years (see photo). UPDATE-COMMENT FROM FREEDOM COMMUNICATIONS: Freedom Communications no longer owns the building and was not involved in decisions to remove the mural. Excelsior is now located directly in Freedom Communications’ corporate offices, in an adjacent building.
Were Tribune Publishing to buy Freedom Communications, it would have very strong Hispanic Publishing assets led by Hoy Los Angeles as well as its weekend saturation product Hoy Fin de Semana, San Diego weekly Enlace and associated publications like Freedom’s properties La Prensa and Excelsior.

4. A Shrinking and Consolidating Sector

Newspaper CouponsPrint media (newspapers, direct mail and on a lesser scale, magazines) properties are consolidating in the hands of a few players (e.g. Tribune, Gannett Newspapers and Valassis; check out the just-announced Valassis acquisition of Clipper Magazine and Printed Deals). As these once large companies’ advertising revenues are decreasing, their profit margins have become smaller. In a shrinking sector, the only way to increase margins is to consolidate with other companies and reduce costs (in fact, hundreds of Tribune Publishing employees are currently weighing if they would accept a buyout offer) and work out of a lower cost structure. Of course, the acquisition and cost-reduction rationale is the strongest when it comes to acquiring properties in the same or adjacent markets (e.g. San Diego and Los Angeles). This is what has been happening over the last few months (e.g. Los Angeles Times‘ acquisition of San Diego Union Tribune for US$ 85 million last May.

CHECK OUT RELATED ARTICLES:
5.18.2015: ANALYSIS: Tribune Gets a Major Hispanic Footprint in SoCal after the Purchase of San Diego’s UT
12.05.2014: Freedom Communications announces more layoffs, folds unprofitable pubs
9.19.2014: Aaron Kushner to evaluate whether the Los Angeles Register is viable as a daily
8.4.2014: Tribune Publishing spins off, which newspapers will it acquire?
03. 14..2014: Are Hispanic Newspapers growing? Yes! Here are 3 Examples

What: Freedom Communications is laying off about 100 non-newsroom employees and eliminating unprofitable publications including the OC Register Magazine. 
Why it matters: Co-owners Aaron Kushner and Eric Spitz’s 2100 Trust acquired the privately held Freedom in 2012 and invested heavily in increasing editorial resources. The bet, at least for now, is not working. Freedom publishes Spanish-language weekly Unidos en el Sur de California.

descarga (2)Freedom Communications, the parent company of the Orange County Register and the Riverside Press-Enterprise, is laying off about 100 non-newsroom employees and eliminating unprofitable publications such as OC Register Magazine today.

Apparently, top-level executives will be also given the sack along with staff at the Press-Enterprise. The measure will affect all departments except the newsroom.

“The motivation for this change is the fact that we need to make the company profitable. It needs to be a business that sustains itself,” said Richard Mirman, who took over as publisher of the The Orange County Register in mid-October replacing Aaron Kushner.Mirman declined to give specifics on the company’s finances, but said the company still is losing money.

Kushner, whose 2100 Trust purchased Register parent Freedom Communications in 2012, stayed on as Freedom’s CEO. Mirman became the Register’s interim chief executive and publisher.

The comings and goings

Since co-owners Aaron Kushner and Eric Spitz’s 2100 Trust bought the privately held firm in 2012, Freedom has gone through dramatic changes .

Kushner and Spitz went on a hiring spree after the reported US $50-million to US $60-million purchase and also launched two new daily papers: The Press-Enterprise in 2013, which was picked up for nearly US $27.3 million, and Los Angeles Register. Earlier this year, it launched Spanish-language weekly newspaper for Southern California, Unidos en el Sur de California.

Then came several rounds of layoffs and buyouts affecting dozens of employees. The new Long Beach Register is now published only Sundays. In September, the Los Angeles Register closed five months after its launch.

Orange County Register subscribers continue to complain about spotty delivery after the newspaper switched delivery vendors in October. The Register’s previous delivery partner, the Los Angeles Times, has sued, alleging breach of contract and failure to pay about US $2.5 million in fees.

Exactly what was expected

Aaron Kushner, CEO, Freedom Communications
Aaron Kushner, CEO, Freedom Communications

The Los Angeles Register  was launched in April of this year in the Los Angeles, CA market, where it competed with other dailies including the Los Angeles Times. Kushner’s comments on this, which were made during an on-stage interview conducted by Portada publisher Marcos Baer during Portada’s 8th Annual Hispanic Advertising and Media Conference, were the first explicit references by Freedom Communications CEO about the possibility of discontinuing daily publication of the Los Angeles Register.

During this interview, Kushner already claimed that the weekly publications and Freedom’s two core newspapers The Orange County Register and The Press Enterprise, Riverside, CAwere the main contributors to what he considered a “low single digit revenue growth rate” at Freedom Communications.

The Orange County Register and The Press Enterprise, Riverside, CAwere the main contributors to what he considered a “low single digit revenue growth rate” at Freedom Communications.

“It is very important to note today’s restructuring will not impact the newsroom, and thus it will not impact readers or the overall quality of the newspapers.It is critical that we maintain the same standard of excellence in our journalism that our customers, advertisers and community have come to expect,”  said The Orange County Register publisher Richard Mirman .

 

Aaron Kushner, CEO, Freedom Communications
Aaron Kushner, CEO, Freedom Communications

Aaron Kushner, CEO of Freedom Communications, said that he will evaluate “in the next few weeks” whether the Los Angeles Register has a viable future as a daily. The Los Angeles Register was launched in April of this year in the Los Angeles, CA market, where it competes with other dailies including the Los Angeles Times. Kushner’s comments, which were made during an on-stage interview conducted by Portada publisher Marcos Baer during Portada’s 8th Annual Hispanic Advertising and Media Conference, are the first explicit references by Freedom Communications CEO about the possibility of discontinuing daily publication of the Los Angeles Register.

Kushner, however, does see a bright future for weekly publications. During the last several months Freedom Comunications has introduced several weekly publications including Hispanic weekly newspaper Unidos en el Sur de California.  Kushner said that the weekly publications and Freedom’s two core newspapers The Orange County Register and The Press Enterprise, Riverside, CA are the main contributors to what he claims is a “low single digit revenue growth rate” at Freedom Communications. While acknowledging challenges, Kushner praised newspapers and magazines as the only medium where consumers actually look for advertising and don’t neglect it or have technology to filter it (online or TV).

Publications are the only media where consumers actually look for ads.

Before buying Freedom Communications with business partner Eric Spitz in July 2012, Kushner was a successful entrepreneur in the greeting cards business. “Everyone thought that printed greeting cards would disappear in 10 years, when in fact they have boomed,” Kushner said. He added that there may be some parallels between the newspaper and the greeting card business.

Aaron Kushner during #Portada14
Aaron Kushner during the on-stage interview conducted at #Portada14 by Marcos Baer, publisher of Portada

When asked about his view on charging readers for online content, Kushner noted that he does not see a sizable revenue stream in it and that most readers are not ready to pay for content online, with the exception of publications like The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal.
Under Kushner’s and Spitz’s ownership Freedom Communications has been acquiring publications in markets it finds attractive (earlier this year it acquired The Press Enterprise from Belo Newspapers). When asked whether he is interested in acquiring publications in Southern California, the Freedom Communications Executive noted that his company’s nature is to be acquisitive, but he said there will be no inminent announcements of acquisitions. Kushner praised San Diego’s Hispanic newspaper Enlace, which is a unit of The San Diego Union Tribune.

The Freedom Executive also noted that there is a high correlation between voting and newspaper readership. And that newspapers play an important role in building community and creating an advanced political culture. Regarding the Hispanic newspaper sector, Kushner said that the features of Hispanic newspapers across the market are relatively uneven . He also spoke highly of the quality of many Mexican publications.

While most English-language newspapers are retrenching, it is striking how time and time again we get news from Hispanic targeted newspaper publishers who are expanding circulation or even launching new publications. Earlier this week we reported that Freedom is launching  “Unidos en el Sur de California”  with a 300,000 plus circulation. Here three more examples: Hoy’s Los Angeles new weekly Hoy Deportes, CentroTampa and AIM Media Texas’  El Extra  in the Rio Grande Valley.

New sports weekly Hoy Deportes in Los Angeles

Hoy Los Angeles is launching a new weekly newspaper devoted to sports, called Hoy Deportes, Hoy L.A.’s owner, the Los Angeles Times Media Group, announced this week. The publication will also publish digitally with a Web site and mobile channel. The new Spanish-language sports weekly, launched on March 3  covers local, national and international sports, including scores, game reports and athlete profiles. Hoy Deportes, a free publication with a circ. of 90,000 distributed over racks,  will compete with  the Monday edition of La Opinion, a paid product which is sports heavy.  “We know that Monday is a big day for sports and that our community looks for coverage and recap of the weekend sports events-scores etc. Currently there is no print product that delivers a complete all sports package and we are looking at filling that gap.” Roaldo Moran, publisher of Hoy Los Angeles, tells Portada. At Hoy Deportes fútbol (soccer) will be receiving a lot of attention, especially before and during the 2014 World Cup scheduled for June and July. Hoy Los Angeles Editor Alejandro Maciel stated: “Latino-heritage Angelenos rank amongst the world’s most avid sports fans and, with the World Cup about to take to the pitch in Brazil, we felt the time was right to launch Hoy Deportes.”  Eduard Cauich, Editor of Hoy Deportes, wrote in an article addressed to Hoy‘s audience that “during decades there has been talk in Los Angeles about the need of a newspaper focused on sports, because the Hispanic community has shown its passion for sports by supporting teams like the Lakers, Clippers, Dodgers and Angels. ”

 

Tampa Tribune’s CENTRO Tampa   

Hispanic NewspapersCENTRO Tampa, a Hispanic weekly in Tampa Bay published by The Tampa Tribune,  expanded  its circulation to include Hispanic households in Pinellas County on Friday March 7, 2014. This is the second time CENTRO Tampa is expanding its circulation, driven by a high growth rate in the Hispanic population in Tampa Bay. In 2012 CENTRO Tampa added 10,000 copies in Pasco County and the most recent expansion to Pinellas will add 15,000 additional copies. This will bring the total circulation to more than 65,000 copies. Orlando Nieves,general manager of CENTRO Tampa, tells Portada that the added circulation will be a mix between rack and home-delivered circulation.  However, he adds that  “most will be home delivered with racks being concentrated on heavily Hispanic areas like Pinellas Park and Clearwater.” Overall, CENTRO Tampa is 85% home-delivered and 15% rack distributed. While the The Tampa Tribune is CENTRO Tampa’s sister newspaper, CENTRO Tampa is not distributed together with The Tampa Tribune: “All our distribution is concentrated in Hispanic self-identified households and delivered by dedicated carriers,” Nieves says.  The strong home-delivered component in these newspapers is often liked by retail advertisers. “We currently carry inserts for Ashley Furniture, NewsAmerica/Smart Source, Walmart, Red Plum/Valassis, Target, Best Buy, Rooms 2 Go, Bealls, Winn Dixie, HH Gregg, Lowes and Home Depot among others,” Nieves notes. CENTRO Tampa, also has a digital presence at www.centrotampa.com. Since 2005, “we have been the Spanish news site with the most traffic in Tampa Bay. ” ” The site currently is being monetized through a CPM model based on impressions, but we also provide  unique opportunities like corner peels, expanded billboards and pencil dropdowns. We also run video news content from Univision on a revenue share agreement.”  (In 2012 The Tampa Tribune and its associated print and digital products were acquired from Media General by Tampa Media Group, Inc., a new company formed by private equity house Revolution Capital Group.)

El Extra in Rio Grande Valley   

Texas FlagEl Extra a weekly Spanish-language newspaper published by AIM Media Texas has expanded its circulation by more than 75% over the last 18 months. AIM Media Texas also publishes The Brownsville Herald and El Nuevo Heraldo among other publications in the Rio Grande Valley. “Starting in late 2012 and throughout last year we’ve systematically looked at the opportunities in all of our South Texas markets relative to the positive demographic profile of our Rio Grande Valley community.  Hence, we’ve purposely invested new staff and distribution resources into both El Extra, our weekly entertainment  and lifestyle publication and El Nuevo Heraldo, our daily Spanish language news publication.” Frank Escobedo, the recently named new publisher at the Brownsville Herald, tells Portada. “Our three targeted zones for El Extra focus in Cameron and Willacy Counties on Brownsville and Harlingen and surrounding communities and in Hidalgo County on McAllen and Weslaco and surrounding communities.  We’ve increased our distribution in these Counties by over 75% and 100%, respectively, over the past 18 months in response to strong reader and advertiser demand.  We continue to evaluate opportunities to expand our footprint and the penetration and distribution within our tri-county region and beyond in order to benefit both readers and advertisers,” Escobedo adds.

Rio Grande Valley’s Hidalgo, Cameron and Willacy have a combined total population exceeding 1.3 million people of which 1.1-1.2 million are Hispanics and the market continues to grow at a rapid pace.  At 90% Hispanic composition, this makes them  one of the most concentrated areas for Hispanics living in Texas and the US.  Interestingly, 10% of all Hispanics in Texas live in the Rio Grande Valley which in turn comprises only about 1% of the total land area of Texas.  We are also in a unique position with our markets being adjacent to the Mexican border. The areas’ population swells considerably every weekend as shoppers and tourists from Mexico swarm to our local malls and tourist attractions to shop and play.  This bodes well for our local economy.   We intend to continue to serve these markets and produce products that address the needs and expectations of our readers and advertisers alike.

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What: Freedom Communications, the company led by Aaron Kushner, who is big believer in print media, is launching Unidos en el Sur de California, a new Spanish-language weekly newspaper for Southern California. The new newspaper with a circ. of 320,000 plus is scheduled to debut Friday March 21 and will combine the editorial staff, production and distribution resources of two existing Spanish-language weeklies owned by Freedom: the Excelsior in Orange County and La Prensa, serving the Inland Empire and Coachella Valley’s. Both newspapers will cease publication.Unidos will also have an edition in the Los Angeles zone debuting March 28, which will focus on communities in Southeast Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley (UPDATED with comments from Freedom Communications and EPMG).

Why it matters: Since it was acquired by a private equity Group, Freedom Communications is practically the only major U.S. media company who is heavily investing in expanding its print media properties. This is the first Hispanic specific project they are undertaking.

Freedom CommunicationsFreedom Communications is launching a new Spanish-language weekly newspaper for Southern California, Unidos en el Sur de California. The new newspaper, scheduled to debut Friday March 21, will combine the editorial staff and production and distribution resources of the two existing Spanish-language weeklies owned by Freedom: the Excelsior in Orange County and La Prensa, serving the Inland Empire and Coachella Valley. Orlando Ramirez has been named publisher of Unidos and Tiffany O’Hare is the new publication’s General Manager. The final editions to publish under the Excelsior and La Prensa names run this Friday March 14.

Unidos will have a total circulation of 323,476.

Unidos en el Sur de California will include news pages with a local countywide focus, while also expanding coverage of regional, state, national, and international news of particular interest and importance to Hispanics. Unidos en el Sur de California debuts with the following three sections:“Noticias” (News), “Deportes” (Sports), and NEXT, an entertainment section targeting younger Hispanics with bilingual celebrity news, movie and music reviews, gossip, nightlife, fashion, and Twitter trends. A new website, unidossc.com, will also launch soon with breaking news and related information from Unidos en el Sur de California. UPDATED: Unidos publisher Orlando Ramirez tells Portada that “although the print publication is a weekly, we view the Unidos website as a breaking news operation where the Spanish-language reader can find up-to-the minute reporting on local and regional news. In addition, we also provide the gamut of sports and entertainment content that is updated daily. These include the latest happenings in the Mexican and international futbol leagues, coverage of major entertainment events, as well as staff-written blogs on parenting and the latest in the fan-boy world of video games, movies and video.

Four – zoned editions

Unidos en el Sur de California will publish four zoned editions every Friday, targeting Orange County, Inland Southern California, Coachella Valley and Los Angeles. The fourth Los Angeles zone, set to debut March 28, will focus on southeast Los Angeles and communities in the San Gabriel Valley. Together, the four zoned editions of Unidos will have a total circulation of 323,476 according to Freedom — over 100,000 greater than the current combined circ of Excelsior and La Prensa. UPDATE: A Freedom Communications spokesperson tells Portada that Unidos will also “circulate within The Press-Enterprise and Orange County Register. Circulation within Los Angeles Register is also part of our long-term plan.” The Los Angeles Register is a English-language daily Freedom is planning to introduce later this year in Los Angeles.

 

Enough home-delivered distribution?

Freedom will distribute the new weekly newspaper through businesses in areas with large Hispanic populations,  including Hispanic grocers, clothing stores, toy stores, electronics stores, restaurants, beauty salons, coffee shops and entertainment venues. This indicates that the vast majority of Unidos publications is going to be distributed via racks. While Unidos will be published on Friday’s,  a day liked by many retailers as many families do their purchases on the weekends, the amount of home-delivered circulation seems to be relatively low. Excelsior’s Jesus Cobian, told Portada last October that Excelsior had 26,000  copies in requested home delivery, which now will be converted into Unidos home-delivered distribution. (La Prensa Riverside, CA, has a circulation of 130,000 copies per week, the vast majority of them rack distributed.) UPDATE: “We have a equitable balance of paid and free distribution,” a Freedom communications spokesperson tells Portada. “Home delivered circulation has increased at a steady pace each year for Excelsior and La Prensa. The expanded distribution through retail locations in Hispanic-dominant communities is a very important means of delivering Unidos en el Sur de California.”

How does Unidos stack up against the competition?

Hispanic NewspapersUnidos 323,000 weekly circulation across a wide area of Southern California is impressive. However, its circulation is lower than that of Tribune’s Hoy Los Angeles Fin de Semana product, Hoy’s weekend guide providing lifestyle and entertainment information attuned to the way Latinos spend their weekends. It’s the largest and most complete carrier of late week pre-print packages in Southern California and the #1 Spanish-language home-delivered newspaper in the U.S. with a Saturday circulation of 814,000. Hoy Fin de Semana‘ competitor, impreMedia’s La Opinion Contigo has a weekend circulation of 255,091. Hoy Los Angeles publisher Roaldo Moran, tells Portada that the launch of Unidos en el Sur de California, “validates the good health of Spanish-language print media. It will help the industry because a larger number of properties will be promoting Hispanic print.” Moran adds that “creativity is a crucial factor in the success of new print media ventures nowadays.” UPDATE: The Freedom spokesperson notes that “Hoy and La Opinion covera core LA area, while Unidos serves a huge portion of the LA basin DMA, bringing together the growing Latino audience in Inland Southern California and Orange County with the core LA audience.”
Another strong contender in the Southern Californian Hispanic newspaper market, although with little editorial content, is El Clasificado a weekly classified newspaper published by EC Hispanic Media that originated in Los Angeles in 1998.  Its weekly circulation increased last year from 500,000 to 510,000 reaching over 300 cities through 28,000 distribution points in Los Angeles, Central Valley and San Diego. (Check out Portada’s recent California market profile!).

UPDATED: Trevor Hansen, CEO of EPMG, tells Portada that “The EPMG Team is excited to see the new publication when it is debuted. We understand they have aggressive plans for distribution and market coverage. Our Team’s analysis of media really goes much deeper than just distribution though, in fact our primary evaluation revolves around unique content and community integration points. For us, the predictive nature of media ROI is highly contingent upon overall relevance, media intimacy, content U.S.P., community integrations and marketing; these of course should all be coordinated with a strong, strategic distribution model. So, we are anxious to see how the new publishers tackle the content equation to bring the vital Southern California Hispanic community a new media choice.”

Unidos is just the latest in a series of new publications from Freedom, acquired by private equity group 2100 Trust in 2012. The company is also launching a new daily newspaper serving Los Angeles (Los Angeles Registerwhich will be published and distributed using the resources of the OC Register, but will have its own LA office, with dedicated Los Angeles reporters covering local beats, according to Freedom CEO Aaron Kushner. Since purchasing Freedom in 2012, co-owners Aaron Kushner and Eric Spitz have nearly doubled staff in the Register newsroom, launched the Long Beach Register as a new daily newspaper in August, purchased from Belo The Press-Enterprise )publisher of La Prensa Riverside) in Riverside, Calif. in November, debuted an enhanced edition of The Press-Enterprise with original reporting and a new Inland SoCal Register section in January, and launched the Desert Enterprise as a new weekly newspaper as part of its expanded service within Riverside County in February.However,  the announcement about the launch of Unidos, comes as two of Freedom’s English-language community papers revert to a weekly frequency after about a year of a five-days-a-week schedule. 

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