Rumbo Retools Again To Find Right Fit

WheN RUMBO, the largest Spanish-language newspaper chain in Texas, announced last month that it would begin publishing its San Antonio and Houston editions weekly, many said the daily distribution for the Hispanic markets had been ahead of its time. Others’ suspicions seemed confirmed that the model was flawed.

Felix Sención, founder and publisher of Spanish-language sports monthlies Fútbol Mundial and Béisbol Mundial, which are carried by Rumbo, called it “a smart move, at the right time. This shift should, and I feel will, continue to find more readers in a very viable and always growing Hispanic marketplace — now at a weekly pace — which is a strong approach.”

The chain had made several strategic adjustments since its launch in June 2004, including going from paid at newsstands/boxes to free rack copies to household deliveries, or a combination of all; abandoning the Austin market; cutting frequencies from five times a week to three times, and now to weekly.

Newspapers in the Latino market tend to be weeklies, a format favored by Hispanic media buyers, especially with weekend editions.

Founder Edward Schumacher Matos, who in January announced he will step down as chairman and CEO, said that while there are plenty of readers and 2006 revenues were up 40 percent from the year prior, a more-than-weekly frequency burned cash too quickly, and he expects strong positive response from both readers and advertisers.