Latino Mags Assert Themselves Online

With Advertisers Looking Elsewhere, Titles Build Databases, Web Content in Race for Relevance

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Hispanic titles aren't immune to the broad print-industry downturn, but amid a tough environment, Latino publishers are reflecting the general market by evolving online.
Like their English-language counterparts, Hogar and Siempre Mujer have bolstered their online presence.
Like their English-language counterparts, Hogar and Siempre Mujer have bolstered their online presence.

Despite past growth among publications serving Hispanics, Latino publishers are closing money-losing magazines and cutting back on newspaper projects. Editorial Televisa, for instance, is shutting down its year-old title Tu Dinero after the May issue; it closed Cristina last year.

But the bigger change is that Latino publishers are moving beyond the printed page, belatedly embracing the internet and investing heavily in their websites, and adding news, video, photos, music, daily alerts and other features.

Time Inc.'s People en Espanol, the biggest Hispanic magazine by circulation (approaching 500,000) and ad revenue (topping $48 million in 2006), is relaunching this spring with more interactive features and bilingual content.

'Invite everybody'
The site recently featured a bilingual package highlighting the magazine's first "100 Most Influential People" ranking. Page views in January were up 30% from December to 5,845,917; page views grew by 418% compared with January 2006.

"We want to invite everybody to the party," says Jackie Hernandez-Fallous, publisher of People en Espanol. The "100 Most Influential" was the Spanish-language magazine's first bilingual package. "Though our core magazine is in Spanish," she says, "the online market is very bilingual and bicultural."

"Magazines are not dead. But the magazine model has to find itself," says Ruth Gaviria, director-Hispanic ventures at Meredith Corp.

Parenting titles
Meredith publishes four Spanish-language parenting titles -- Ser Padres, Healthy Kids en Espanol, Espera and 12 Meses -- as well as Siempre Mujer, described by Ms. Gaviria as "Oprah meets Martha Stewart Living meets Real Simple with culturally relevant content."

She points at the success of as a model to follow to integrate and deliver relevant content to Spanish-speaking readers. "We are growing our Hispanic ventures, not necessarily in print. ... We don't need to launch more magazines," she says.

Competitor Editorial Televisa has catching up to do. This fall the publisher of magazines such as Vanidades, TV y Novelas, ESPN Deportes la Revista and Poder plans to launch a series of entertainment, sports and business hubs. Some sites will be in Spanish, others in English and some bilingual.

"Having a digital strategy goes beyond just throwing your content online," says David Taggart, group publisher of Editorial Televisa. He declines to reveal specifics on spending but says the company is investing "tons of dollars." relaunch
Latina relaunched in March 2006 with different content, such as videos and movie trailers. English-language Latina is adding online articles in Spanish to target recent immigrants. "Latina Live," described as a multimedia platform involving print, online and events in three cities, kicks off in November.

Megazines Group, publisher of eight-times-yearly car-enthusiast magazine Sobre Ruedas, is integrating its content with other media. In addition to, a specialized site hosted by online Hispanic radio network, Sobre Ruedas produces and hosts a one-hour weekend show on ABC's ESPN Deportes Radio. Next month it will launch a series of 30-second capsules in Azteca America TV shows.

For other publishers, the web is a tool with which to build databases of information about their Hispanic readers that may interest advertisers. Hogar Latino, publisher of bimonthly shelter book Casa y Hogar, launched last October and invited readers to sign up for tips on improving their homes. In March, logged 29,440 unique visitors, up more than 80% from December 2006.

Online newspapers lag
Meanwhile, on the Hispanic newspaper side, there's been little online activity. The online newspaper segment is tiny.

"Hispanic print is so small that a subsegment of something already small is not attractive for most advertisers," says John Trainor, CEO of Papel Media Network. "It is a vicious circle. There are no advertisers because there is no content, and the content is not there because you need advertising to invest in it."

The exception may be ImpreMedia, the fast-growing Hispanic chain that has added newspapers throughout the country and is now intent on growing its digital properties.

"We don't want to be seen as a Hispanic print company but as a Hispanic information company," says John Paton, chairman-CEO.

ImpreMedia's seven publications, which include Los Angeles and New York dailies La Opinion and El Diario La Prensa, draw 1.8 million unique visitors each month, making ImpreMedia one of the most-visited online properties among U.S. Hispanics.

ImpreMedia Digital splits off
This year, ImpreMedia Digital became an independent subsidiary offering advertisers customized e-mail blasts, online surveys, landing pages, microsites and integrated media packages. Future growth is likely to come in the digital arena.

"We will be growing [the unit] by both start-ups and acquisitions," Mr. Paton says.

ImpreMedia is still willing to move aggressively into print publications, as in the case of Hoy. Tribune Co. tried to build a national brand with Hoy, launching dailies in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. As the papers struggled, Tribune cut frequency, moved from paid circulation to a free model and this year sold the New York edition to ImpreMedia.

"We have looked at the growing phenomenon of free newspapers around the world," Mr. Paton says, "and we determined there is a real opportunity for a targeted, free daily newspaper in New York."
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