Custom Publishing Market Picks Up

Disney, a blue-chip company and a household name, is the latest large company to launch a custom magazine targeting the Hispanic consumer. Disney en Familia will publish its premier “Back to School” issue to be in-house July 14. The magazine will be completely Spanish language, offering parenting tips, recipes, party ideas, learning fun, travel tips, and ideas for preserving cultural traditions. Each cover will spotlight a different Latino celebrity parent and his or her everyday life with children. In addition, a Disney section will showcase previews of Disney movies, products and attractions. The magazine's target audience is Hispanic moms who reside in the U.S. and want to preserve their heritage and traditions.

The magazine will be published by Disney Publishing Worldwide, and will have an open rate CPM of $75.00. The magazine will be mailed out to a list of Hispanic consumers who have bought Disney products in the past or patronized any of Disney’s properties.

“With its quarterly format, the second issue for 2008 will be a Holiday edition,” says Art Markos, president of Santa Barbara, CA-based Independent Publishers Representatives (IPR), an ad sales representation firm specialized in custom publications that has been selected by Disney to provide outside advertising. “Our charter advertiser, Kmart, will run a four-page gatefold for the premier issue – obviously we are very excited,” says Markos. Disney en Familia’s premier 08 issues will have a circulation of 350,000 and will be ABC-audited.

Hispanic custom publications are not new to Fortune 500 companies. “We are proud of our relationships with marketers such as Pepsi, Wal-Mart, Unilever, Kellogg's and Fisher Price, among others,” says Chiqui Cartagena, Managing Director Multicultural Communications for Meredith Integrated Marketing. Meredith is a major custom publisher both in the Hispanic and the general market.

IPR’s Markos sees a huge opportunity for custom publications to be part of most companies’ CRM efforts, working synergistically with their websites to drive customers between platforms.”

Generally, magazine publishers, and not newspaper publishers, tend to be important custom publishers. However, El Nuevo Dia Orlando, a daily Spanish-language newspaper in Central Florida owned by Puerto Rico’s Ferré Rangel Group, recently announced that they will begin offering custom publishing services for the U.S. Hispanic market. The newly created division, named “Creamos Publicaciones,” will provide complete solutions including concept development, editorial and news graphic design for any type of publication. Potential clients include small and medium-sized publications, as well as corporations, says Jaime Segura, general manager of El Nuevo Dia Orlando.

Certainly not all large Hispanic custom publications have worked. Sears' Nuestra Gente (monthly, circ. 865,000, Spanish) ceased distribution in 2006. Citing poor ROI, Procter & Gamble in 2005 stopped publication of Avanzando con tu Familia, an annual bilingual publication launched in 1998 with a circulation of over 1 million.

Growth Potential

Filiberto Fernandez, publisher of Casa y Hogar, says that custom publishing has not picked up yet for the same reason that Hispanic print media has not developed as much as many would have liked: “The prevalence of electronic media,” he explains.

IPR’s Markos notes that he is currently speaking with the publisher of a new Hispanic market bridal magazine. “A fantastic concept to be sure,” says an excited Markos. “Enormous opportunities exist within several key market segments that could greatly benefit from creating custom publications directed to their Hispanic core customer. I remain surprised that automotive, financial services/credit cards, fast food, soft drinks, pharmaceuticals, insurance, department/home-office supply stores and female beauty products have yet to jump into the Hispanic market with targeted custom publications.” IPR also does third party advertising sales for Kraft’s Comida y Familia (circ. 1,000,000), which reaches readers bound by a common interest in food. Comida y Familia was launched in spring 2003 and is published 5 times a year.

In 2006 and 2007, Casa y Hogar did a custom publishing project for Countrywide Financial. “One was an 8 pager and another one a 16 pager,” says Fernandez. The publications had the logo of Countrywide Financial and Casa y Hogar on the front cover. The circulation of both publications was above 100,000. Countrywide wanted to distribute the publication to new homeowners of Hispanic origin in their more than 130 Latino-centric branches.

According to Merediths’ Cartagena, there is a lot of growth opportunity in the parenting category and in the traditional CPG sector. “These sectors have already been using custom publishing as a very effective tool to reach ethnic minorities, not only Hispanic. In fact, we are the only custom publisher who has actually done quite a bit of work in the African American space as well as the Hispanic market. Our differentiator, of course, is our unique expertise and reach in the women's market. As marketers realize that women are really in control of the purse strings, they inevitably come to us for below-the-line solutions.”

“However,” she notes, “this year we have seen great interest from various new sectors, in particular, automotive, financial services, home improvement and pharmaceutical sectors. At the end of the day, it is about content expertise.”

The main success factors

Content is king. “Many custom publishers reuse or repurpose existing editorial content but we at Meredith pride ourselves in creating all our content from scratch. This gives the marketer much more control over the message, which is key, and it actually allows them to use this content on other platforms (i.e. online, etc.) which is very attractive to them,” says Cartagena.

“Distribution is also key, because if you don't get the message out properly, you will have wasted your money. Distribution is one of our strengths as we have been able to build unique distribution channels that give our partners tremendous and focused reach in the Hispanic market. For example, we have our own doctor's office distribution channel which allows marketers to reach Hispanic and General Market families very cost effectively,” Cartagena adds.

To IPR’s Markos, “a strong, auditable list on which to base your circulation along with relevant editorial” is essential. He adds that “reasonable CPMs and a powerful, strategic outside ad-sales plan are crucial, as is a passion for creating the best publication possible.”

Related Article:

Disney to Publish a Spanish-Language Custom Publication (May, ’08)

Disney: Leveraging a Strong Customer Database by Launching a Hispanic Magazine (May, ’08)