Hispanic media on demand
While publications across the country drop distribution or even their print product all together, Defining Trends is changing its name and going national. Set to rebrand sometime this month under the new moniker Latino Trends, the magazine has undergone several transformations and continued to grow since its launch in 2001 as the Dominican Times Magazine.
“Since we’ve managed to branch out into other properties – our Internet presence, our social media content, and our events – we’ve been able to not only stay alive, but thrive,” said Bernadette Giacomazzo, associate editor of Defining Trends Magazine, in an e-mail interview. “Thrive” may seem like a foreign term in relation to print media, but Hispanic media is challenging the “media is dying” mantra. Rarely mentioned among dying publications, Hispanic-interest outlets have continued to carry on and in some cases, prosper.
Early last month, the Deseret News launched El Observador, a Spanish-language newspaper targeted at the Hispanic/Latino market in Salt Lake City. “The Hispanic population of Utah is growing so rapidly, in some parts of the state some population areas are up 20 percent,” said Deseret News publisher Jim Wall. “Just by sheer size and opportunity, we thought this would be really good for our community.” The Hispanic community not only needed a “voice,” noted Wall, but local businesses needed a way to communicate with the Spanish-speaking members of the community.
Meanwhile, according to a recent article in Editor & Publisher, the Tribune Company is expanding the Chicago distribution for its Spanish-language weekend product, Fin de Semana, from 300,000 to 335,000. This comes on the heels of the Tribune Company’s expansion of Hoy’s Chicago edition, which increased its Monday-through-Thursday distribution by 13 percent to 75,000 copies. “We started to see locations where we were running out of papers,” Hoy general manager John Trainor told Editor & Publisher. “Advertisers in Little Village, for instance, were saying, ‘Where’s the paper?’ It was a problem based purely on demand.”
The success of this particular niche may have much do with the growth of the Hispanic population. Adweek reported in November that “Hispanic Americans continue to grow in number at a rate four times that of the general population, with the 2010 Census expected to show their total rising to nearly 50 million, from 38 million in 2000.” Last May, New America Media reported that from 2008 to 2009, Hispanic publications grew in number, circulation and ad revenue.
Even retailers see the potential. In a recent press release, quarterly Spanish-language men’s magazine Constru-Guia al Dia announced that along with Home Depot, approximately 2,000 7-Eleven stores would distribute the magazine. “We launched the magazine three years ago when we realized there were advertisers who wanted to reach the Hispanic male audience in the construction industry, yet there wasn’t an ideal print medium,” said Kevin Kilpatrick, publisher of Constru-Guia al Dia, in a press release. “More than 39 percent of Hispanic males age 25 and older are employed in the construction or building maintenance industries, and our goal is to provide the information they need, where they need it.”
Meanwhile, print isn’t the only medium that seems to be expanding into the Hispanic market with increasing frequency. Recently, Clear Channel’s HD KRQ-FM flipped from Country to Spanish Pop. In Atlanta, WGUS-AM flipped from Religious Gospel to a Spanish Tropical format. According to Arbitron’s How America Listens to Radio and Hispanic Radio Today 2009 study, Hispanic radio remains strong. “These studies show the strength of radio as a media companion to ethnic consumers,” said Arbitron executive vice president and chief marketing officer Alton Adams in a press release. “Radio’s relationship with ethnic listeners has been consistent over time; year over year, more than 90 percent of black and Hispanic listeners tune in to radio for news, culture and sounds of the community.”
Back in Salt Lake City, Wall said El Observador’s reception has been welcome from readers and advertisers alike. The paper is a separate entity from the Deseret News and employs staff from Spanish-speaking countries. “You can’t just redo some news that you’re doing in English because translating it still doesn’t make it interesting,” he said. Instead, they cover news targeted at the Hispanic community. Despite the survival of Hispanic media, Wall said he believes that it isn’t the only market that can thrive. Any niche publication with a unique enough topic can be a survivor. “We think we have a very unique audience and if we do our job right, we’ll have a loyal audience and loyalty is very important today,” he said.
— Katrina M. Mendolera
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