Thursday, March 4, 2010

Not-so-rosy outlook for Hispanic titles

By Diego Vasquez


In recent years what distinguished magazines targeting America's Hispanic population was a flush of advertising as more and more mainstream marketers shifted dollars to this growing market. And indeed from 2003 through 2008 Hispanic magazines outpaced their general-market counterparts in revenue gains. Then 2009 came and all that stopped. Hispanic titles saw roughly the same page declines as general-market titles, about 25 percent, but ad revenues took a far steeper dive. To learn just why, Media Life reached out to Carlos Pelay, founder of Media Economics Group, a research company that tracks advertising in Hispanic media. Pelay talks to Media Life about what was behind the ad revenue tumble, the effects of the cutbacks in automotive ad spending, and when the Hispanic titles might recover.


You note that Hispanic magazines have generally out-performed the general market, but your data for last year show ad revenue down even more than general market publications, minus 34 percent versus minus 17.8 percent. What happened?


Since 2003 ad revenue and ad page growth rates for Hispanic magazines have generally outpaced gains in the general market. The exception was in 2009. The decline in ad pages for Hispanic titles was pretty similar to general-market titles, but the revenue declines were much steeper.


One can point to a couple of factors behind why the percentage decline in ad dollars was more severe. One was the closure of Selecciones, one of the largest titles in terms of ad revenue, and another was the somewhat higher reliance on the automotive category in the Hispanic segment.


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