As reports of layoffs, cutbacks and buyouts sweep through America’s most influential newspapers like the Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and The Washington Post, publishing companies struggle to stretch resources and keep newspapers afloat. Despite declining circulation and shrinking advertising revenue, one niche market is holding steady.
“Unlike the slowing English-language media markets in the United States, the Hispanic market remains in a growth phase,” says Deana Myers, senior analyst for SNL Kagan, a Virginia-based media research firm.
While the circulation of traditional English-language daily newspapers has dropped nearly 10 percent over the last decade, the circulation of Spanish-language dailies has increased. Since 1970, the combined circulation of Spanish-language daily newspapers has grown from 140,000 to over 1.7 million in 2002, according to Latino Print Network.
ImpreMedia Inc., one of the largest Spanish-language publishing companies in the nation, is reaping the benefits of Spanish-language media expansion. As owner of the largest daily Spanish-language newspaper in the nation, Los Angeles’ La Opinión, and a handful of other weekly Spanish-language newspapers, the ImpreMedia network reaches nearly 5 million U.S. Hispanics every week, and industry insiders are confident these numbers will grow.
“I think that we are in less trouble than English-language newspapers,” says Pedro Rojas, La Opinión’s executive editor. “We have not gone through layoffs, but we do more with less. Other papers send three reporters to cover a story, we send one. We saw some decline in circulation in January, following a 25-cent price increase, but the majority of our readers have returned.”
Circulation for La Opinión hovers at around 125,000 subscribers. “In comparing the annual circulation numbers for last year to this year, our circulation is basically flat. Without the price change, we would have seen an increase,” says Jim Pellegrino, circulation director for La Opinión.
El Diario La Prensa, a Spanish-language daily in New York, also owned by ImpreMedia, ranked No. 1 in net daily paid circulation growth among the largest daily newspapers in America for the six-month period ending March 2008, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The publication advanced its daily circulation 7.6 percent to 53,856 copies, the largest increase of any newspaper in the country with a circulation over 50,000.
A “growing audience with an increasing buying power” and a hunger for news is leading the circulation surge, Myers explains in the recent report, “Updated Analysis of TV and Radio Market Revenues.”
By 2010, the Hispanic population in the United States is expected to reach 50 million, nearly 16 percent of the population. Spanish-language newspapers will serve as a lifeline for this growing population, says Ileana Oroza, a lecturer of journalism and photography at the University of Miami.
“These papers tend to be very local and service-oriented. People who are making their way into new communities want that type of coverage,” says Oroza, noting that the wave of new immigrants is less likely to be tied to computers and the Internet.
Advertising and marketing spending to reach Hispanic households is forecasted to increase $1.2 billion over the next four years, totaling $5.6 billion. Spanish-language media outlets expect to garner a handsome share of that advertising revenue.
Earlier this month, Zubi Advertising of Miami and Univision, the fourth largest television network in the United States, completed a media advertising deal approaching $80 million. The deal includes advertising on all three Univision TV networks — Univision, TeleFutura and Galavision — as well as 64 Univision owned-and-operated TV stations, Univision radio stations and related Web sites.
“With the Hispanic demographic growing throughout the United States, especially in
areas that have high concentrations of Hispanics, broadcasting stations are seeing an increase in advertising rates,” says Justin Nielson, an SNL Kagan associate analyst who worked with Myers on the report. “Advertisers like Ford, GM and Coca-Cola are spending more dollars on the Hispanic demographic than they’ve done in the past.”
Magazines, like newspapers, are losing advertising to competitive Internet sites such as Craigslist.com, Ebay.com, Yahoo and Google. The Internet, as Oroza suggests, is not where advertisers will find the bulk of Hispanic consumers.
The Publishers Information Bureau recently released its quarterly report, and it comes as no surprise that consumer magazine publishers are having a tougher time selling ads in 2008 than they did in 2007.
Of the 231 magazines that reported advertising figures for both 2007 and 2008, 153 reported a decrease in advertising pages by 10 percent or more. Siempre Mujer, a Spanish-language magazine targeted to Hispanic women, increased its advertising revenue by about 39 percent. Comparable English-language magazines catering to a female demographic saw declines; for example, Ladies’ Home Journal’s ad revenue decreased nearly 10 percent.
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