American Magazine Conference News


Limited Reach, Incomplete Metrics and Accountability Cited

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FAJARDO, Puerto Rico ( -- U.S. Hispanic magazines face a bigger struggle for revenue growth -- and often offer deeper rate-card discounts -- than their general market counterparts, speakers told attendees at
The first U.S. Hispanic Magazine Summit convened over the weekend at the Conquistador Resort & Spa in Puerto Rico.
the first Hispanic Magazine Summit, which opened the American Magazine Conference in Puerto Rico on Oct. 15.

Judging from the 140 participants at the gathering in the Wyndham el Conquistador Resort & Spa, many more Hispanic magazine launches are on the way. The summit was sponsored by the Magazine Publishers of America and Advertising Age.

Small part of media spend
Hispanic magazines received just 2.9% of total Hispanic media spending, compared to 17% for magazines in the general market, attendees were told. Eduardo Michaelsen, the keynote speaker and CEO of Editorial Televisa, said some Hispanic titles discount up to 30% or 40% off rate card prices. Publishers estimated total spending on U.S. Hispanic magazines is about $140 million a year.

Advertisers who have declined to buy into Hispanic magazines often cite too few titles, tiny reach, not enough accountability, and even the common refrain: “We don’t use print.”

One challenge, for instance, is that U.S. Hispanic magazines rely on data from Simmons Market Research Bureau, which has been a leader in including Spanish-speaking consumers, although many would like to use other research sources.

Competing with Hispanic TV
Hispanic media, after all, emerged in the U.S. primarily as the province of Spanish-language TV. While print preceded TV in the U.S. for general-market audiences, Hispanic publishers are now trying to build a revenue base for Spanish- and English-language and bilingual magazines from advertisers and agencies more accustomed to spending money on Spanish-language TV network Univision.

Panelists warned that lack of research on Hispanic magazines prohibits some big advertisers from getting more fully in the game.

Sonia Green, director of diversity marketing and sales for the Hispanic market at General Motors Corp., said many Spanish-language or Hispanic-focused publications cannot pass the prerequisites of GM's media-buying unit, PlanWorks, such as minimal circulation levels, membership in the Audit Bureau of Circulations or in BPA Worldwide, and independent readership studies from MRI or elsewhere. That’s where savvy Hispanic marketing directors often come in. Ms. Green sometimes relies on her knowledge of Hispanic consumers to direct a media buy that doesn’t meet circulation or audit criteria but brings in Hispanic car buyers nevertheless.

GM is No. 2 Hispanic print buyer
Other titles, like Meredith Corp.’s women's magazine Siempre Mujer, launched last month, and Time Inc.'s market-leading People en Espanol, both earned GM advertising on the strength of their franchises and publishing companies’ track record, Ms. Green said. GM was the No. 2 Hispanic magazine print buyer last year after Procter & Gamble Co.

P&G is less flexible on metrics. Fina Di Salvo, U.S. ethnic communication planning and media manager, said, “We really believe in accountability.”

In one accolade to Hispanic print, Bob Corscadden, senior VP and chief marketing officer of Tyson Foods, said his company spends more than $1 million a year, about 20% of its Hispanic budget, on Hispanic magazines, divided among seven titles. Citing some of the added value Tyson gets from Hispanic titles, Mr. Corscadden said the mother of People en Espanol publisher Jackie Hernandez-Fallous still keeps on her fridge Tyson’s useful tear-out seven-day menu planner from that magazine.

Language debate
Although it’s pretty clear that the future of Hispanic media includes both Spanish and English, every Hispanic ad gathering sparks a debate about language.

Nancy Tellet, VP-director of strategic planning and media services at Siboney USA, chided other speakers: “It is about readers; language is a tool.”

Manny Gonzalez, brand director, Scotch, Diageo North America, said, “It’s not about language, it’s cultural relevance.”

But for Rick Marroquin, director of Hispanic marketing for McDonald’s USA, the unexploited niche is titles for young, Spanish-dominant Hispanic males.

“For our marketplace, Spanish language is the homework,” he said. “You’ve got to do the homework before you do the extra credit of English.”

Big Mac's 'default agency'
He noted that Spanish is finding its way into ads done by his general market agencies, while McDonald’s Hispanic shop, Del Rivero Messianu DDB, has become the “default agency” on the Big Mac brand.

“That’s not by accident but by design,” he said. “Hispanic consumers overindex on Big Macs. [At Del Rivero Messianu DDB] they do the English, the Spanish, the Spanglish.”

Like many other marketers, Mr. Marroquin notices an increase in Hispanic titles.

“I feel like I get a new Hispanic magazine that is launching across my desk every week,” he said.

A few of the publishers roaming the Hispanic Magazine Summit included:

  • 4 M Cuatro Media plans a February launch for a Spanish-language sports magazine using the Fox Sports name, which it has licensed. That magazine will compete head-on with ESPN Deportes La Revista, introduced earlier this year as part of a multiplatform brand that started with a TV channel and added radio this month. Further competition comes from Sports Illustrated, which will publish four Spanish-language issues this year distributed as controlled circulation to Time Warner’s Hispanic database.

  • Executives from Emmis Publishing’s Tu Ciudad (Your City), an English-language lifestyle magazine for Hispanics about Los Angeles that is four issues old, estimate it will take three-and-a-half years to break even but they are already scoping out other cities like New York and Miami to extend the Tu Ciudad brand.

  • Miami-based Spanish-language celebrity title Fama hopes to spin off two regular inserts into separate magazines, starting with Viviendo (Living), followed by Mujeres al Volante (Women Behind the Wheel), which is targeted at female car buyers and featured GM's Ms. Green on a recent cover.

Concluding the summit, Wayne Eadie, senior VP for research at the Magazine Publishers of America, pledged a portion of the MPA’s Future of Magazines ad campaign to educate media buyers about Hispanic print.

“It doesn’t take too many percentage points moving one way or another to make it a good day for all of us,” he said.

Mr. Eadie also described a research program in the planning stages that would demonstrate the higher pass-along rate, the powerful relevance and other advantages owned by the Hispanic press. With funding in place from a number of publishers, and cooperation from the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, the hunt is on for a brand that is willing to participate.


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