AD AGE SPECIAL REPORT;MARKETING TO HISPANICS;THE SPANISH-LANGUAGE MAGAZINE IS GETTING CROWDED WITH NEW ENTRIES, AS PUBLISHERS AND ADVERTISERS LOOK TO REACH A GROWING MARKET OF 27 MILLION PEOPLE WHO SPEND $228 BILLION ANNUALLY

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When Editorial Televisa launches Deporte Internacional this week, its executives will tap into a rebounding area in U.S. publishing: titles targeting Hispanics.

The people at Editorial Televisa, a South Florida division of Mexican publishing giant Grupo Televisa, are not alone. Spanish- and English-language print vehicles geared toward Hispanic readers are on the upswing.

Advertisers for the every-other-weekly, Spanish-language Deporte include AT&T, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Mitsubishi, Columbia House, Philip Morris' Marlboro and Calvin Klein's Obsession.

The effort strikes two areas: it's a Hispanic sports title, and a title targeting men, says Enrique Perez, international advertising director. A one-time color page costs $4,000; circulation is 50,000, and the cover price is $2.50.

"The thinking is our advertisers have asked us for more male-targeted books," says Mr. Perez, whose company publishes 12 female-targeted titles in Spanish. "We said, `Let's give our advertisers what they want.'*"

The past year has been a learning experience for publishers considering the Hispanic market, which numbers more than 27 million people in the U.S. and features buying power topping $228 billion, according to Strategy Research Corp.

Advertisers and publishers are lured by a growing market, which can be tapped with a quality product that speaks to them-if not in their language then in their cultural tone, executives say.

Many publishers who hope to hit the upscale, acculturated female Hispanic will do so through an English-language or bilingual title. Such titles include Latina Style, a quarterly that launched last spring with plans to go every-other-monthly this year; Padres de Sesame Street, a young families' quarterly from Children's Television Workshop with a controlled circulation of 400,000 and distributed through doctors offices; Latina, a forthcoming bilingual book backed by Essence Communications; and Moderna, an every-other-monthly from the publisher of Hispanic.

These books join a category that's getting crowded. In January, Newsweek announced it would publish a Spanish-language edition, primarily for the Latin American market but with some spillover into the U.S. market.

Following the success of People's April 17, 1995, issue bearing a split cover of the murdered Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, which sold 815,000 copies in the Southwest-plus 525,000 copies of a $3.95 commemorative issue on the singer-discussions on creating a Hispanic People are on the "front burner" at Time Inc.

People executives are talking to publishers in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, according to Managing Editor Landon Jones.

Though a launch is not likely in 1996, "I'm convinced People has a manifest destiny to do this," he says. "It's a matter of when, not if."

Niche marketers also have been putting out titles. JSA Publishing delivers Spanish-language and Mundo Deportivo to 1.2 million households to tap Hispanic women and sports enthusiasts, respectively. The bi-monthlies have ad support from AT&T, Kraft Foods' Post division, U.S. Tobacco's Skoal and Columbia House.

Advertisers spent around $186.5 million in 1995 on Hispanic print, according to Hispanic Business, up from $177.9 million in 1994.

Advertisers are especially interested in the upscale Hispanic market, which before the launch of targeted titles remained unreachable by marketers, says Hector Cantu, managing editor of Hispanic Business.

"Magazines are just coming around and they're just following the ads," says Mr. Cantu. "Hispanic purchasing power in the middle class is growing faster than a lot of other groups, and faster than the mainstream. That makes it a very attractive market for people."

Though magazines seem to be catching on, Hispanic newspapers, too, have been growing in recent years.

In November, three months after it had closed newspaper Nuestro Tiempo, Times Mirror Co.'s Los Angeles Times teamed with to launch Para Ti, a Spanish-language weekly. The tabloid is direct distributed to 200,000 households in neighborhoods 70% or more Hispanic with incomes above $25,000. Advertisers include retailers such as Sears, Robinson's and Bullock's.

"The competition helps motivate the publications," says Kirk Whisler, co-publisher of the 1996 "Complete Guide to Hispanic Media" and founding president of National Association of Hispanic Publications. "It's a situation where there's been phenomenal growth."

The question remains: what language should be used to target Hispanics? About 49% of the 4,818 Hispanics surveyed for Strategy Research Corp.'s 1994 U.S. "Hispanic Market Report" said they read magazines weekly. Of those, 77.4% said they read magazines in Spanish, compared with 47.1% who read magazines in English.

Publishers seeking upscale readers say a bilingual or English-language title will draw that market. But others believe the best vehicle would be in Spanish, as immigration and a return to cultural roots will keep the language strong-and provide advertisers an entree to consumers who are not yet brand loyal.

"It depends on which market advertisers are going after," says Mr. Cantu. "On the consumer level, advertisers appear to be going after the Spanish language because you might have more new consumers who are making the decision what to buy. Advertisers want to be there when the consumers make that decision. Once they lock in that consumer, they've got a customer for a long time."

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