September 03, 2003

Los Más Nuevos Periódicos

Major U.S. newspaper companies, frustrated in their efforts to increases circulation by traditional means, are going after the nation's fastest growing ethnic group in their own language - Spanish.

newspaper declinesTribune Publishing and Knight Ridder this week launched Spanish-language dailies in Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth, respectively.

Tribune hopes to replicate in Chicago the success it has had in New York with Hoy, a splashy 25-cent tabloid whose circulation has reached nearly 100,000 in four years. The new Chicago paper, also named Hoy, is part of a larger plan to extend the brand nationally. (Chicago Hoy only has a marketing site online so far.)

Diario La Estrella was a twice-weekly stepchild of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Knight Ridder elevated to daily status (five days) in response to the Dallas Morning News' plans to roll out its own Spanish-language daily, Al Dia, at the end of September.

Broadcast companies have long recognized the allure and buying power of the Hispanic market, with NBC's $2.7 billion purchase of Telemundo in the fall of 2001 put the stamp of the mainstream on the market.

Newspaper companies are finally getting the message: Hispanics are a large untapped audience, but they cannot be reached in English.

Publishing in Spanish is further acknowledgement by English-language newspapers that when it comes to news, and attracting audience, one size no longer fits all. Niche-market products Hoy, Diario La Estrella and, aiming at a different market, the Chicago Tribune's youth-oriented tab, RedEye, are evidence that newspapers, once the epitomy of mass, are now subdividing into publications of class.

The number of U.S. newspapers has decreased nearly every year for the last five decades. It's about time the industry tried something new.

 Associated Press Three Spanish-language papers expand, begin publishing

Posted by Tim Porter at September 3, 2003 08:33 AM