"We've gained about five points in readership and market share by combining forces and targeting multicultural readers, as well as advertisers interested in reaching the broader community," said Kathleen Slattery, VP-marketing for the San Jose Mercury News.
The newspaper has started covering local news topics in editions appearing in three languages and as a result is selling more copies and generating more ads through bundled deals, Ms. Slattery said. She added that the strongest advertising categories for the cross-cultural editions are airlines, banks and long-distance telecommunications marketers.
The newspaper launched its weekly Spanish edition, Nuevo Mundo, in May 1996 and in January 1999 launched the weekly Vietnamese language newspaper, Viet Mercury.
About a third of San Jose's local population is Hispanic, and Nuevo Mundo's circulation is 59,000, compared with 290,000 for the English-language version. Only 7% of locals are Vietnamese, but Viet Mercury's circulation is 23,600 and growing swiftly since its launch, Ms. Slattery said.
AT&T Corp., Korean Airlines and Washington Mutual have been buying ads in the cross-cultural editions.
"When we offer them the opportunity to reach broad readership in a blockbuster issue cutting across all three cultures, advertisers have responded very favorably," Ms. Slattery said, and the newspaper plans more special issues addressing cross-cultural topics this year.
"Cross-cultural stories are of great interest to our readers, creating occasions for us to boost the print runs and promote our three editions more heavily," she said.
Even smaller events allow for cross-cultural publishing events: This year on July 4 the San Jose Mercury News wished its readership a happy Independence Day in all three languages for the first time.