Rodale Press has become the latest publisher to jump into the booming market for magazines targeted to Hispanics, this month distributing more than 220,000 copies of Men's Health en Espanol in a joint venture with Mexico City-based Editorial Televisa.
There are four Latin American editions of the title plus a Spanish-language one in the U.S.
"We expect [the Hispanic venture] to be a $3 million business for us this year," said Jeff Morgan, publisher of the parent Men's Health.
Time Inc., the Washington Post Co. and Essence Communications also are fine-tuning their marketing efforts.
Last week, Time Inc. raided the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News to sign Angelo Figueroa -- who had been editing the paper's weekly Nuevo Mundo -- as the first editor of People en Espanol.
SET FOR QUARTERLY
After distributing 225,000 copies of its debut issue last October, People en Espanol is slated to go quarterly in March.
"We're testing the marketplace for what we hope develops into a regular monthly launch in 1998," said Jeremy Koch, VP in charge of consumer marketing for People.
While some of the new titles are experimenting with direct-mail efforts, the Time Inc. weekly is concentrating most of its early efforts on building clout at checkout counters in supermarkets.
"There aren't well-established patterns for Hispanic-magazine distribution," Mr. Koch said.
IN 12,000 OUTLETS
In the first effort, he said, the publication was on sale in 12,000 outlets. By yearend, Mr. Koch hopes to have People en Espanol available in 20,000 outlets.
The debut issue carried 29 ad pages from marketers including American Express Co., Chrysler Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Philip Morris Cos.' Marlboro cigarettes. The book expects to land at least 34 ad pages for the next issue, which hits in early March.
Advertisers in Rodale/Editorial Televisa's first jointly published issue included Saab on the back cover and a Spanish-language version of the "milk mustache" campaign from the National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board.
Latina, a joint venture between Essence Communications and Alegre Enterprises that launched last June, has hired its first agency, Vidal Reynardus & Moya, New York.
The magazine, distributing 300,000 copies per issue, plans a direct mail drop in April. A direct response TV campaign will break in May, prior to the magazine's move from every-other-monthly frequency to monthly in July.
464 AD PAGES IN `96
Newsweek en Espanol, a licensing deal that involves the Washington Post Co. weekly and Miami-based publisher Ideas & Capital, attracted 464 ad pages in '96 after its debut as a weekly last May. Advertisers last year included Rolex, Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM Corp.
The magazine is distributing 25,000 copies on newsstands for its U.S. Hispanic edition, and later this year plans a direct mail effort, said Luis Valdich, president of Ideas & Capital.
Some industry experts think direct mail may turn out to be a key element for publishers to build stable rate base guarantees for their magazines and, ultimately, pave the way for more mainstream marketers to reach the fast-changing Hispanic population.
3.7% GROWTH EXPECTED
The U.S. Hispanic marketplace is expected to grow to 28.2 million people in 1997, up 3.7% from 1996 and 12.8% since 1994, according to Strategy Research Inc., a market researcher.
That market's 1996 buying power was more than $228 billion, up 2.7% from 1994, according to Strategy Research.
"I think we are destroying the myth that the Hispanic population won't pay for print," said Latina founder and Publisher Christy Haubegger.
Among the 54 ad pages in last year's three issues were ads from General Motors Corp., American Honda Motor Corp., Revlon and Estee Lauder Cos. L'Oreal is slated to break in the April issue.
Copyright January 1997, Crain Communications Inc.