Tougher times for Hispanic magazines
Ad spending is off sharply as advertisers shift to digital options
October 28, 2015
By the editors of Media Life
This article is part of an ongoing Media Life series entitled “Catching the next big wave: Hispanic media.” You can read previous stories by clicking here.
Just a few years ago, Hispanic magazines were hot, with ad pages up, readership climbing and new titles launching to meet the rising demand. That remained the case even after general market magazines began their tumble as readers moved online and advertisers followed.
Now it’s over.
While circulation has remained steady, ad spending on Hispanic titles is well down, with pages off nearly a quarter through July, as advertisers move more and more of their spending online.
The challenge for publishers is to maintain their print titles while building out their digital properties, and they have several things going for them.
One is that Hispanics, especially younger Hispanics, are huge users of mobile devices, at a time when mobile advertising is taking off.
Another is cultural. These titles enjoy a special affinity with readers as the voices of the Hispanic experience in America, and that counts for a lot, even among younger, mostly English-speaking Hispanics. It’s also something advertisers understand.
As part of our new series “Catching the next big wave: Hispanic media,” Media Life is starting a dialogue on Hispanic magazines in which we are inviting media buyers, publishers and others in the Hispanic media marketplace to address the challenges and promise of Hispanic magazines.
First up is Carlos Pelay, founder and research director at Media Economics Group, which tracks the Hispanic magazine industry. He provides an overview on ad spending and circulation.
Below Pelay are comments from Monique Manso, publisher of People en Español, and Jeff Wellington, vice president and group publisher for Meredith Parents Network, who oversees Meredith’s Hispanic titles.
Manso and Wellington talk about their print and digital strategies going forward.
Over the coming days we”ll be adding comments from other publishers.
Founder and research director
Media Economics Group
How would you characterize the year so far for Hispanic magazines?
This has been another rough year for Hispanic magazines. Ad pages are down 23.5 percent and dollars are down 18.9 percent through July.
Part of the reason the numbers are down is that there were several high-profile closures in 2014, including Cosmopolitan in Español and Vista. But even accounting for those magazines that folded, ad pages are down 12.2 percent and ad revenue is down 13.5 percent.
Have you seen a lot of launches or closures? How does it compare to last year?
Two new launches this year. Parents Latina is a new quarterly from Meredith targeting English-dominant Latina moms.
Playboy Latino is a Spanish-language edition of Playboy published by Arbol Publishing for the Latino market.
Are there any issues that Hispanic magazines are facing that are unique to them (i.e., you’re not seeing w/ English-language ones)? Why?
Language–editorial and advertising–is obviously an issue unique to the Hispanic segment of the magazine market Since the inception of the Hispanic magazine market in the mid-1990s, advertisers and publishers have sought opportunities to speak to Hispanics in both English and Spanish.
For example, Latina (English-language editorial) and People en Español (Spanish-language editorial) were the first two major titles launched in the Hispanic market and each targeted a different language-dominant segment of the market.
In recent years, it seems the momentum has shifted in favor of English-language in terms of major launches: Cosmopolitan for Latinas (2012), Glam Belleza Latina (2013), and Parents Latina (2015).
The question is to what extent some of these new English-language launches are cannibalizing readership and ad dollars from existing titles versus expanding the net overall reach and size of the market.
It’s pretty clear. from my sources, that the launch of Cosmopolitan for Latinas was a major factor in the decision to discontinue publication of Cosmopolitan en Español in the U.S. late last year.
It remains to be seen what impact Parents Latina will have on Ser Padres and perhaps even Siempre Mujer – all three are Meredith books, by the way.
Are most magazines targeting Hispanics written in Spanish? Are there a lot targeting bilingual Hispanics? Do you see many magazines written in both languages? Why or why not?
About one-third of Hispanic magazines are written in English and two-thirds in Spanish. None of the titles that we measure–nationally distributed, glossy titles with primarily national versus local advertisers–really are bilingual, although some, like Latina, incorporate some Spanglish.
What ad categories are doing well for Hispanic magazines? Are these also performing well with non-Hispanic magazines? How about with other Hispanic media, such as newspapers or TV, do the same categories do well?
Automotive, retail (especially department stores and restaurants), and healthcare products (direct-to-consumer Rx advertising) are some of the categories enjoying growth despite an overall down year.
But personal care and household supplies–two of the major categories for Hispanic magazines–are down significantly overall.
The major factor is a huge shift in spending by P&G from “traditional” media into digital, primarily mobile and video.
For Hispanic magazines specifically, P&G’s change in media strategy has translated into a 51 percent decline in ad spend by P&G so far this year, on top of a 40 percent drop in 2014.
How is circulation for Hispanic magazines holding up? Are they having the same newsstand issues? Why or why not?
Rate base has remained flat for all the major publishers over the past four or five years. We have not seen any cuts there.
However, post-recession some publishers have made reductions in frequency to cut costs. Editorial Televisa, for example, has reduced frequency for TV y Novelas and Vandidades from bi-weekly to monthly.
What’s the future of Hispanic titles — how do you see the future in print?
Hispanic titles are well positioned to thrive into the future–as long as the content remains relevant and serves its audience.
As part of Time Inc., People en Español continues to invest in research to understand the passion points of our current audience and uncover opportunities to grow.
Hispanic titles also must align with how consumers are consuming content. Beyond the magazine, which remains the core of our business, we offer curated content for our community though our website, as well as via video, social media and our live events.
As an example, we just wrapped our annual festival celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, which attracted more than 15,000 attendees and generated 600 million social media impressions–around the hashtag #FestivalPeople.
Across Time Inc., print products remain profitable and an important part of the company’s future. And among audiences, magazines remain tremendously influential.
More than half of social media users retweet articles from magazines’ Twitter feeds, and nearly half follow magazine editors.
As an example, People en Espanol’s editor in chief Armando Correa has 133,000 followers. And magazines are number No. 1 in triggering online search and sharing.
And what is the digital strategy for your title? Also, how, if at all, does it differ from English-language titles?
The digital strategy at People en Español is very content focused—not different at all from an English-language title.
We leverage our best-in-class content, customized for our web and mobile platforms. For example, the live streams of our signature red carpet events like “50 Mas Bellos” are very popular with our audience and perform well for our advertisers.
We also developed a “Festival Live” show pegged to our annual Festival live-event franchise, for our viewers to experience the celebrity behind-the-scenes access for which People en Español is known.
What’s the future of Hispanic titles — how do you see the future in print?
There is undeniably a bright future for Hispanic magazine titles.
The Hispanic population is by far the fastest-growing segment in the country, growing four times faster than the general population. One quarter of children under the age of 1 is born to a Hispanic family.
Our in-language brands Siempre Mujer and Ser Padres have struck a chord with today’s millennial woman, having some of the strongest engagement metrics in all of publishing across all media platforms.
[Also], the Meredith Parents Network earlier this year launched a new English-language Hispanic print property, Parents Latina. This title has exceeded our expectations in both reader engagement and in attracting blue chip advertisers in its launch year, who recognize the value of connecting with this audience.
And what is the digital strategy for your titles? Also, how, if at all, does it differ from English-language titles?
Our digital strategy, similar to our strategy on all platforms, is to offer content that defines our brands as the go-to resource and multicultural authority for today’s Hispanic women and families, especially millennials, on what matters most to them in their lives, homes, and personal development.
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