Latin men get their own mags

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Spotting a neglected niche, up to three magazines aimed at Latin men are about to hit newsstands.

After the dot-com market collapsed, the founders of Loquesea, a regional Spanish-language youth portal, researched other opportunities and started putting together financing for a U.S. Hispanic title to be called Hombre Latino.

For the magazine's Publisher-CEO Carlos Lizarralde, who lives and works just two blocks away from the World Trade Center, the Sept. 11 terrorist attack disrupted everything from financing deals to the advertising market.

"Now we're trying to set a date [to launch]," Mr. Lizarralde said. "We're surveying the ad market to see when the best time is."

The first new men's title, Loft, went on sale Sept. 20, and the long-awaited Spanish-language edition of Maxim follows in November. Both Spanish-language men's magazines are regional titles that will cover Latin America but expect to get one-third or more of their circulation and advertising from the U.S. Hispanic market, where they can also charge higher ad rates.

Key executives at both Loft, published by Miami-based Zoom Media Group, and Maxim, licensed from Dennis Publishing by Editorial Televisa, take credit for two-year-old Colombian magazine Soho, one of the few successful men's titles in Spanish-speaking Latin America. Both groups claim responsibility for Soho's success and claim they will replicate it. Loft and Maxim will initially publish every two months but plan to go monthly in 2002.

Like the U.S. and the original U.K. editions of Maxim, the Spanish-language Maxim will be "funky and funny and irreverent; Loft is more serious," said Eduardo Michelsen, who joined Editorial Televisa earlier this year as VP-international operations from Soho, where he was general manager.

Mr. Michelsen said Maxim's planned 180,000 circulation has five different advertising and editorial editions: U.S. Hispanic, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela and Central America. U.S. Hispanic is budgeted to account for about 30% of advertising and circulation. Ad rates are $6,000 for the U.S. Hispanic edition, $7,000 for Mexico and $16,800 for full-run.

Editorial Televisa's ad revenue from the U.S. Hispanic market grew by 21% in September compared with the previous year and will increase 10% to 15% in October, he said. The publisher's 19 regional titles include Men's Health en Espanol, which has a circulation of about 354,000 but doesn't take ads for alcohol or cigarettes, big categories for Maxim. The first issue's advertisers include beer brands Budweiser and Heineken and Kool cigarettes.

Starting in December, Maxim will be heavily promoted with a TV and print campaign, created in-house, in the U.S., Mexico and panregional cable channels.

Starting with a circulation of 60,000, Loft is targeting the U.S. Hispanic market for 20,000 copies, with the rest going to six Latin American countries.

Loft inherits a handy database from 100,000-circulation sibling magazine Punto-com (Spanish for "dot-com"). Given the demise of that market, Punto-com is being hastily relaunched in October as Poder (Spanish for "power") and the original plan for dot-com oriented products scrapped.

"We had a vertical strategy," said Editor Felipe Jaramillo, 27. "We thought we would do a [dot-com] magazine, Web site, research and conferences. That market collapsed. Now we have a multi-title strategy."

More upscale than Maxim, Loft's advertisers include Calvin Klein, Absolut vodka, BellSouth, BMW and Rolex.

Why did a bunch of Colombians pick the name Loft?

"It's a huge open modern free space," Mr. Jaramillo said. "It's a nice four-letter word, and you can pronounce it in Spanish. It's catchy."

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