For media buyers, there's no such thing as too many choices. Thus, most heralded the arrival last week of two new national Spanish-language newspaper networks—no matter that newspapers are the least-used medium among Latinos and command only a fraction of the almost $3 billion annual U.S. Hispanic adspend.
Last week the Tribune Co. said it will expand its daily, Hoy, into Los Angeles in March. Hoy's New York edition reports a circulation of 96,000; the Chicago edition, launched in September, has a circulation of 17,000.
Earlier this month, the owners of L.A.'s La Opinion said they would join forces with New York's El Diario/La Prensa to form Impremedia. El Diario/ La Prensa, the oldest Spanish daily in the country, established in 1913, estimates its circulation at 50,000 and is owned by CPK Media Holdings. La Opinion, established in 1926, claims a circulation of 125,000.
Both networks also said they plan to expand to other cities down the road.
Advertisers spent $240 million in Spanish-language papers last year, according to Hispanic Business. That is a small slice of the $2.8 billion in total Spanish-language media expenditures. (About $1.2 billion went to national television.)
"Newspapers have not been a network buy, and this is a step in that direction," said Holmes Stoner, vp of foreign-language media buying service URI International in Beverly Hills, Calif. "It opens up a much larger audience and gives [the newspapers] a lot more leverage to extend brand awareness to a much bigger market. It also extends into rate advantages."
Aida Levitan, president of the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies and CEO of Publicis Groupe's Publicis Sanchez & Levitan in Miami, also said the moves are promising. "Anything that makes life easier for the buyers and offers clients a better product, more promotional opportunities and value-added services would be welcome," she said.
Both groups will now deliver readers in the nation's two largest Hispanic markets. (L.A. ranks first with 4.2 million Latinos, followed by New York with 2.3 million, according to the 2000 Census.) Both are also planning unique editions for the two markets, with some shared stories.
Hispanics read Spanish-language newspapers about one hour a week, compared to 17 hours spent watching Spanish-language TV, according to a 2003 study by WPP Group's Market Segment Research in Coral Gables, Fla.
"As more markets are available, it elevates the medium as a choice option," said Danielle Gonzales, vp and media director of Starcom MediaVest Group's Tapestry in Chicago, the largest Hispanic media buyer in the U.S. "I can't say in the first year it will happen, but over time I think it will be a more viable option for us. ... It's the next evolution in Hispanic media."
Other respected publishers have made investments in the Hispanic newspaper market. In September, Belo Corp., owner of The Dallas Morning News, launched the daily Al Dia. Knight Ridder responded by expanding its twice-weekly Dallas paper, La Estrella, into a daily.