Magazines: the new generation

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Forget the broad brushstroke magazines; new titles for the Hispanic market in the U.S. make it clear that publishers are, slowly, starting to acknowledge that one size does not fit all.

After all, along with the demographic differences general-market publishers have to consider, Hispanics in the U.S. come from about 20 countries, and there's a great deal of diversity within the acculturation and language levels. Any notion that "if you knew the marketplace 10 years ago" then you know it now "is not true," says Ruth Gaviria, publisher-executive director of Hispanic Ventures for Meredith Publishing Group.

Now, instead of looking at Hispanic magazine publishing as a niche, publishers are looking to publish niche magazines for Hispanics. "In the next 24 months," says Ms. Gaviria, "there will be a proliferation of ideas hitting the marketplace and seeing what sticks."

Paul Hunt, VP-media director for the Southfield, Mich.-based agency GlobalHue, says the expansion and diversity in ethnic media are very welcome. "Advertisers in the past were guilty of approaching [the market-place] as monolithic," says Mr. Hunt. "There's a great deal of diversity within the diversity."

Editorial Televisa, the largest publisher of Spanish-language magazines in the world, currently publishes 20 titles in the U.S., including Vanidades, TV y Novelas, Cristina, and Cosmopolitan en Espanol. "Media buyers wanted penetration [in the marketplace] so here's this entire cross-section of publications," says David Taggart, group publisher-northern zone. "Now they're looking for segmentation."

In 2004, the company started to focus on six or seven "titles that focus on niches," says Mr. Taggart. He says the circulation of those titles grew 10% to 35% in 2004.

The company is eyeing U.S. expansion. Last year it acquired 51% of the English-language titles Hispanic Magazine and Hispanic Trends from Hispanic Publishing Group. This marked a departure for Televisa because it was the first time the Mexican media giant had ever published an English-language magazine in the U.S.-a sign of how eager Televisa is to cover all niches of Hispanic publishing. This month, Editorial Televisa launched Prevention en Espanol. "We're ramping that up pretty fast," says Mr. Taggart. Then, in the second half of 2005, Editorial Televisa will most likely launch a mens sports title.

Young acculturated Hispanics are a key target. New York-based LatCom Commun-ications has parlayed a Web site, iCaramba.-com, into the iCaramba college tour of 70 universities in 13 cities and a quarterly magazine launched in September aimed at Hispanics on campus. Icaramba U has controlled circulation of 100,000.

"There are 2.5 million Latinos in college, so we're just getting started," says LatCom CEO David Chitel.

Also Internet-inspired, Web radio network Batanga two years ago started Batanga Latin Music magazine, which will get coveted distribution in Wal-Mart Stores starting Feb. 4.

New Hispanic magazine action is also ratcheting up at U.S. publishing houses better known for their English-language titles. Meredith will launch a Spanish-dominant magazine for "a young woman making life decisions for herself and her family" in early fall, says Ms. Gaviria-its first outside of titles acquired with the American Baby Group. The title called Siempre Mujer will help fill what Ms. Gaviria sees as a hole in service journalism.

Emmis Publishing, owner of Los Angeles magazine, last week announced the May 2005 launch of bi-monthly Tu Ciudad Los Angeles (Your City), an English-language magazine targeting upscale Latinos in the city with the largest Hispanic population in the U.S. And at Time Inc., Sports Illustrated is testing Spanish-language publishing. Three issues of the magazine-the baseball preview and NFL previews, as well as an issue with NBA and World Cup 2006 previews-will be mailed to 500,000 readers, including People en Espanol households and AOL Latino subscribers.