Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

A Growing Demographic

A recent Pew Research Center shows that Spanish-language papers are thriving in comparison to their English-language counterparts.

Yesterday marked the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S., a month-long celebration of Hispanic and Latino citizens. In light of that, we’re paying special attention to this growing demographic. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the Latino population grew to more than 50 million — more than double its size in 1990 and up 46.3 percent since 2000. Latinos also happen to be the nation’s youngest ethnic group, with a median age of 27. The population is increasingly becoming more U.S.-born, with majority being bilingual.

Taking a look at this growing demographic, the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism investigated the trends of Hispanic media. Due to its demographic factors, researchers expected to see a strong decline in Spanish-language media operations, similar to that of its English-language counterparts. However, this was not the case. Their research revealed that “Hispanic newspapers overall lost circulation in 2010, but not nearly to the extent of the English-language press. The total number of Spanish-language newspapers remained stable [832 versus 835 in 2009].” While “the number of papers that paid to have their circulation independently audited is even more indicative of the economic success of newspapers, and those grew by 17 percent to 142, according to the Latino Press Network.” This growth came largely from weekly publications, which makes up the majority of Spanish-language print-publications. The number of weeklies with audited circulation grew by 18 percent in 2010.

The Pew Research Center also looked at the revenue of these Spanish-language newspapers. It reported that while 2009 was a rough year revenue-wise, 2010 showed some improvement. They looked at two organizations that measure Hispanic media revenues, which reported different trends. Kantar Media, who looks at only Spanish-language newspapers, showed a small improvement of 2 percent on total ad spend, which was a major improvement to the 16.4 percent decrease in 2009. The Latino Print Network, who measures both Spanish- and English-language newspapers targeted to Hispanics, showed more improvement, but the overall trend was still down. It estimated ad spend at $712 million, a 5.6 percent drop from the previous year. The difference between these two numbers could be attributed to both the presence of English-language papers aimed at Hispanics as well as different methods of measurements. While Kantar estimates advertising alone, The Latino Print Network measures total revenue.

Local ad revenue makes up a much larger slice of the advertising pie for Hispanic newspapers than does national ad revenue. In 2010, local ads accounted for 78 percent of all Hispanic newspaper ad revenue, or $554 million, according to the Latino Print Network.”

Pew also reported, “local ad revenue makes up a much larger slice of the advertising pie for Hispanic newspapers than does national ad revenue. In 2010, local ads accounted for 78 percent of all Hispanic newspaper ad revenue, or $554 million, according to the Latino Print Network.”

Furthermore, Pew took a look at the performance of impreMedia to help put things into perspective. Stating that “given the nature of Hispanic print newspapers, and the fact that so many of the companies are small and privately held and that circulation numbers are unaudited estimates, it can be useful to look at the performance of the larger companies to get a firmer sense of things.” ImpreMedia has nine print publications and numerous websites, with their most recent focus being on becoming “web-centric.” The company’s CEO, Monica C. Lozano, stated, “We know that the Hispanic customer is diverse and wants to receive their content on the platform of choice.” With the focus on digital, they’ve decided to consolidate some of their newsrooms, initiated content sharing with other organizations and produced more digital content and mobile apps. However, this didn’t ensure a successful 2010 for impreMedia. Two of their largest Spanish-language dailies in the U.S. (and all independently audited) had year-to-year declines in circulation. This included New York’s El Diario/La Prensa, the oldest Hispanic daily in the U.S., which lost 9.5 percent of its daily circulation by the end of September 2010.

On the flipside, Hoy Chicago, published by the Chicago Tribune, reported a 40 percent increase in their circulation by September 2010. The decision to expand was due to an expected 22 percent increase in Hispanic population in Chicago. In addition to Hoy Chicago, the Tribune Company publishes several major weeklies. One of which, Hoy Los Angeles, retained relatively steady numbers in 2010 and 2011, with only a slight (.5 percent) decrease between September 2010 and March 2011). In addition to this, both of Tribune’s El Sentinel papers, in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, saw a significant increases in circulation.

While this research proves that Spanish-language newspapers are weathering the storms better, it doesn’t give much insight into why this may be the case. Leslie Berestein Rojas investigated this issue in her article “Why is Spanish-language media doing better than English-language media.” While of course the Hispanic population growth has made a strong impact, she sites a 2009 industry study that simply proves that Latinos like to read. Eighty-two percent of surveyed Latinos reporting that they read Spanish-language newspapers. Further statistics include:

• 74% of Hispanic newspaper readers have read three or more of the last five issues

• 82% of respondents reported that they’ve read Hispanic publications and share them with at least one other person

• 26% of respondents have shared their paper with at least four others

• 53% of respondents have been reading Spanish-language papers for three years or more

With the growth of the Hispanic marketplace and local Hispanic media, our discussions with both newspapers and advertisers convinced us that it was time of NNN to launch its own Hispanic network.”

In response to these recent studies, last July the Newspaper National Network LP has announced that they will launch a Hispanic division. “The NNN Hispanic Network will deliver NNN’s proven one-stop planning and service model to national advertisers looking to engage local Hispanic audiences,” said Jason E. Klein, President and CEO of NNN. “With the growth of the Hispanic marketplace and local Hispanic media, our discussions with both newspapers and advertisers convinced us that it was time of NNN to launch its own Hispanic network.”

Join us next week when we’ll look at ways of marketing to your Hispanic audience.

What about you? How do you reach your Hispanic audience?