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Latin America’s largest newspaper and news site launches a paywall as a new way to monetize its quality journalism. It’s a sign of the times as more Latin American news publisher will launch paywalls in the coming year.

Clarin, Argentina’s most circulated newspaper, with a weekly circulation of 190,789 and weekend circulation of 433,525 has experienced a drop of 158,000 paid newspapers since 2013 when the weekly sales number was at 348,000. Clarin is the first Publisher in Argentina, with a population of 43,833,328 and internet penetration of 34,785,206 (79.4%), to launch a paywall, as well as Spanish-speaking Latin America, excluding Brazil.

ClarínOn Monday, 24th of April, Clarin launches a metered paywall on their main site, www.clarin.com.ar, where users will be able to access 40 free articles per month, before being asked to subscribe to one of the two introductory offers, ARS$19,90 p/m or ARS$49,90 p/m.

According to Argentina’s newspaper association, ADEPA, for the past two years, Clarin has been tracking 1,3 million users on their reading behavior to determine the meter limit. However, in an article published by Clarin in 2016 it stated that the average user consumed 31 articles per month — so it seems that Clarin is clearly targeting the top 1% of its site visitors to convert them into paying subscribers — a very successful model that has worked for many publishers.

Folha de S.PauloBrazil’s Folha de São Paulo, which launched the 1st paywall in 2012 in the Latin American region, originally launched with a meter limit of 20 articles, but quickly moved to limiting access to 15. Today, users can navigate and consume articles anonymously but are required to register after the 5th article with a cap on an additional 10 articles when registered/logged in, before being asked to buy a subscription. Folha has 150,000 digital subscribers and close to 400,000 print, digital or digital-only subscribers.

O Globo, another Brazilian news publisher launched their paywall in late 2013, had a meter limit of 30 articles for anonymous readers, with another 20 articles for registered users. O Globo has also moved to smaller meter limit of 5 and an additional of 10 articles for registered users. Additionally, if a user navigates in incognito mode, all articles are blocked. O Globo hasn’t recently released its number subscribers, but it’s less than 100,000 digital subscribers.

Latin American publishers are finally re-evaluating their digital business model.

If Latin America’s largest news properties can not build sustainable adtech business models, how will smaller publishers in the region make the adtech economics work for them? It’s a trend we have seen in the North American and Europe and it seems that Latin American Publishers are reaching the same conclusion — you can not compete and win against the Duopoly of Google/Facebook.

If Latin America’s largest news properties can not build sustainable adtech business models, how will smaller publishers in the region make the adtech economics work for them?

Being one of Latin America’s most visited News site, with 36.6 million unique browsers, Clarin’s launch of a Paywall is a strong indication that more newspaper groups in Argentina and Latin America will be launching digital subscription models, as people continue to consume news online, at the expense of paid print versions and low CPM’s that are controlled by Google and Facebook.

The EconomistThe next main challenge for Clarin will be to convert 1% of their traffic into paid subscribers in the following year or two, which would be 360,000 digital subscribers. Depending on their success, Clarin would then quickly move to grow their paid audience to 3% if not 4%, the key number to make the digital newspaper operation profitable.

One way to achieve the acquisition rate is to test and optimize the meter limit — something that the UK’s The Economist does extensively, even launching a 3 articles limit per week, a model that is proving to be very successful in moving from it’s 303,500 paid subscribers to its goal of doubling it’s paid subscribers profits in the next 5 years.

Text writen by Billy D. Aldea-Martinez, head for Latin America and Brazil for Piano, the world’s leader SaaS Platform that allows media companies to launch Direct Monetization models, such as metering and paywall solutions for digital content and user data analysis.

What: New York Times Co. has released its Q3 profits beating analysts expectations with Net income  of US$9.42 million( 6 cents a share) comparing to a loss of US$12.5 million, or 8 cents, a year earlier.
Why it matters: Print ad revenue fell 1 %( better than the 12.8% decline in the second quarter). Interestingly digital advertising declined by 5%. However, the company expects digital ad sales to post a year-over-year increase again in the fourth quarter.

finals_400x400New York Times Co. third-quarter profits have beaten analysts’ expectations as the publisher had its biggest increase in digital subscribers in three years.

Key results:

  • Ad revenue fell 2.1% in the quarter, weakened by digital ad sales that dropped 5 %, a major shift from the 14% gain in the second quarter)
  • Print ad revenue fell 1 %( better than the 12.8% decline in the second quarter)
  • Circulation sales gained 1.1%, a bit higher than in the most recent quarter
    Earnings were 9 cents a share (comparing with the 6-cent average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg)
  • Revenue rose about 1% from the quarter a year earlier, to US$367.4 million(Analysts had projected US$364.7 million)
  • Operating expenses declined 7.6%, mostly because of savings on outside printing costs and distribution
  • Net income was of US$9.42 million, or 6 cents a share, compared with a loss of US$12.5 million, or 8 cents, a year earlier.

Digital boost

descargaIn addition, the company suggested digital ad sales will post a year-over-year increase again in the fourth quarter.

Lately, the company has been trying to appeal more digital subscribers and sell online-marketing messages.The newspaper is actually planning to double its digital revenue to US$800 million by 2020 by increasing the number of paid online readers and drawing more young and international subscribers.
Moreover, the company added 51,000 digital subscribers, its biggest quarterly addition since the fourth quarter of 2012. Online subscribers now total to 1 million.

The NYT is planning to double its digital revenue to US$800 million by 2020 by increasing the number of paid online readers and drawing more young and international subscribers.

The Times has also teamed up with Facebook, Google and Apple to upload stories more quickly and reach readers on smartphones.

“It was our best advertising quarter of the year, year-over-year, despite a decline in digital advertising revenue, with better performance in print. We remain bullish about our digital advertising business and expect it to return to growth in the fourth quarter,” said New York Times Co. President-CEO Mark Thompson in a statement.

What: Fronteras Ventures has established as a new, US based licensing agency for the famous animated Latino personality “Condorito.” The character identified as “Ours” by more than 85% of Hispanics when compared with Mickey Mouse.
Why it matters: In light of brand licensing becoming a growth business, Fronteras Ventures has big plans in store to help US manufacturers find new consumers through their affinity with ‘Condorito and Friends.’In addition to Condorito’s merchandising license, Fronteras has a  motion comic/digital version of Condorito for all digital platforms (web, tablets and mobile.)

descarga (1)On a written interview with Portada, Milka Pratt, Co-Founder, Licensing Director Fronteras Ventures, said that although the newspaper Fronteras is still coming out, it is not part of Fronteras Ventures . “We choose that name, since both companies began with Kent Kirschner’s idea, same founder and our friend. Besides, we like that name.”

Portada: Didn’t Condorito already have a LatAm presence?

Milka Pratt: Yes, Condorito has licensees agents in virtually each country in Latin America, but we must bear in mind that this is the most important and known cartoon character in the industry, which has also a strong presence on social networks like Facebook and Line with millions of followers. Now, what we aim from the US, which is home to the headquarters of many global companies, is to start managing businesses that include not only the market in this country, but also of all countries in Latin America.

 Milka Pratt-What we aim from the US is to start managing businesses that include not only the market in this country, but also of all countries in Latin America.

Portada: What is Fronteras Ventures realm and what other properties represent?

Milka Pratt: In addition to Condorito’s merchandising license, we also have a motion comic/digital version of Condorito for all digital platforms (web, tablets and mobile) and additionally, we have the rest of the characters that are also very popular: Coné, Yayita , Yuyito, and the rest of his family and friends from Pelotillehue.

Portada: Which type of client may be interested in licensing Condorito?

Milka Pratt:  All manufacturers of products for Hispanic families and service companies that want to reach this market because , as mentioned earlier, the character is extremely popular in Latin America. There are even studies in USA which position this character as the second most recalled Latin American brand in this audience.We should keep in mind that the vast majority of Latinos who immigrated to USA grew up reading and laughing with Condorito. Therefore are very fondof him. If companies want to reach the Hispanic market, what better way to do it than having Condorito as their ‘Brand Embassador.’ Especially now that there are several projects in the pipeline, which include films and television series, among others.

What: Fronteras Ventures has established as a new, US based licensing agency for the famous animated Latino personality “Condorito.” The character identified as “Ours” by more than 85% of Hispanics when compared with Mickey Mouse.
Why it matters: In light of brand licensing becoming a growth business, Fronteras Ventures has big plans in store to help US manufacturers find new consumers through their affinity with ‘Condorito and Friends.’In addition to Condorito’s merchandising license, Fronteras has a  motion comic/digital version of Condorito for all digital platforms (web, tablets and mobile.)

descarga (1)On a written interview with Portada, Milka Pratt, Co-Founder, Licensing Director Fronteras Ventures, said that although the newspaper Fronteras is still coming out, it is not part of Fronteras Ventures . “We choose that name, since both companies began with Kent Kirschner’s idea, same founder and our friend. Besides, we like that name.”

Portada: Didn’t Condorito already have a LatAm presence?

Milka Pratt: Yes, Condorito has licensees agents in virtually each country in Latin America, but we must bear in mind that this is the most important and known cartoon character in the industry, which has also a strong presence on social networks like Facebook and Line with millions of followers. Now, what we aim from the US, which is home to the headquarters of many global companies, is to start managing businesses that include not only the market in this country, but also of all countries in Latin America.

 Milka Pratt-What we aim from the US is to start managing businesses that include not only the market in this country, but also of all countries in Latin America.

Portada: What is Fronteras Ventures realm and what other properties represent?

Milka Pratt: In addition to Condorito’s merchandising license, we also have a motion comic/digital version of Condorito for all digital platforms (web, tablets and mobile) and additionally, we have the rest of the characters that are also very popular: Coné, Yayita , Yuyito, and the rest of his family and friends from Pelotillehue.

Portada: Which type of client may be interested in licensing Condorito?

Milka Pratt:  All manufacturers of products for Hispanic families and service companies that want to reach this market because , as mentioned earlier, the character is extremely popular in Latin America. There are even studies in USA which position this character as the second most recalled Latin American brand in this audience.We should keep in mind that the vast majority of Latinos who immigrated to USA grew up reading and laughing with Condorito. Therefore are very fondof him. If companies want to reach the Hispanic market, what better way to do it than having Condorito as their ‘Brand Embassador.’ Especially now that there are several projects in the pipeline, which include films and television series, among others.

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What: Spanish-language newspaper UNIDOS en el Sur de California is eliminating home-delivery of the publication and focusing on distribution through news racks and retail locations in high-density Hispanic communities in Orange County, western Riverside, San Bernardino, and eastern Los Angeles County starting Feb. 6. As a result of the changes UNIDOS’ total circulation will decrease from 244,000 to 170,000 through the elimination of the Coachella Valley edition and of  the home-delivered distribution.
Why it matters: UNIDOS, a unit of Freedom News Group, itself a part of Freedom Communications, is optimizing its distribution strategy and cutting costs as the parent company is facing financial difficulties.

descargaSpanish-language weekly newspaper UNIDOS en el Sur de California is modifying its distribution by moving to exclusively target single copy distribution through news racks and retail locations in Orange County, western Riverside, San Bernardino and eastern Los Angeles County beginning Feb. 6. Home-delivered distribution in Orange County and Inland Southern California will be terminated following the Jan. 30 edition.  Orlando Ramirez, publisher of UNIDOS, tells Portada that with the new distribution plan,  UNIDOS overall distribution will decrease its circulation from 244,000 to 170,000 with the elimination of home delivery and The Coachella Valley Edition. According to Ramirez, the decisions are based on a “thorough evaluation of our market” to determine the most effective way to reach the Latin consumer. Unidos tested home delivery but ultimately determined that the most effective distribution was through racks and retail locations.The newspaper is increasing the number of copies in high-traffic rack locations by 36,000, and adding additional distribution locations within South Orange County. Total circulation is 170,000 on Fridays, which includes 75,000 copies in Orange County and 95,000 in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The three counties are among the most desirable in the nation for reaching Hispanics with expendable income and buying power.

The termination of home-delivered distribution, which is more costly than rack distribution, is surprising as many retailers favor home-delivered distribution due to the fact that it brings the content right into the house makers home. UNIDOS tells Portada that Target, Ashley Furniture and JC Penney are among its big box retail advertisers.

In 2014 Freedom merged Orange County’s Excelsior and Riverside’s La Prensa into one newspaper called UNIDOS.

The circulation decrease and elimination of home-delivery are also related to cost cutting as UNIDOS parent Freedom Communications is going through heavy cost cutting to keep its finances in shape.  Freedom Communications CEO  Aaron Kushner spoke at Portada’s 2014 Annual Conference in September and, for the first time, admitted that he would likely close the Los Angeles Register, a daily newspaper for Los Angeles that Freedom launched earlier last year. (The Los Angeles Register then close later in the fall).

Distribution points focus on Hispanic-dominant communities and locations where multigenerational Hispanics live, work, shop and play

Distribution points focus on Hispanic-dominant communities and locations where multigenerational Hispanics live, work, shop and play. They include Latino grocers, family and children-themed clothing stores, restaurants, toy stores, electronics retailers, beauty salons, entertainment venues and coffee shops.

“These moves are part of a new strategy to better target high-densty Latino neighbourhoods in Orange County, Western Riverside and San Bernardino counties and Eastern Los Angeles County. We know the locations in this new footprint perfom well, and it creates a higher quality distribution,” says Ramirez.

“The new distribution strategy provides better opportunities to reestablish UNIDOS within our core markets, and brings greater visibility in Latino neighbourhoods that are integrated into readers’ daily lives,” notes UNIDOS Publisher Orlando Ramirez, who first joined The Press-Enterprise in 1995 as part of his 33-year career as a journalist and leader within Hispanic media in Southern California.

In March 2014, Freedom Communications merged its two Spanish-language newspapers – Orange County’s 21 year-old Excelsior and the 15 year-old La Prensa – into one newspaper called UNIDOS en el Sur de California (meaning ‘united in Southern California’). La Prensa introduced a Coachella Valley edition in June 2013, which was also rebranded as UNIDOS with a 25,000 circulation. The Coachella Valley edition will discontinue as part of the updated distribution.

UNIDOS’ print edition includes the following three sections: Noticias(Spotlights news, business developments and newsmakers on a local, regional, national and international level – with a special focus on Latin America), Deportes (from Mexican and European soccer, to up-coming boxing matches, to national and local sports important to Southern Californians) and NEXT(the all-things-entertainment section appeals to multigenerational Hispanics.)