Spanish-Language Media Market in a Growth Phase: While the Circulation of Traditional English-Language Daily Newspapers Decreases, Spanish-Language Media Are Reaping the Benefits of a Growing Hispanic Community

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As reports of layoffs, cutbacks and buyouts sweep through America's most influential newspapers like the Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and The Washington Post, publishing companies struggle to stretch resources and keep newspapers afloat. Despite declining circulation and shrinking advertising revenue, one niche market is holding steady.

"Unlike the slowing English-language media markets in the United States, the Hispanic market remains in a growth phase, says Deana Myers, J senior analyst for SNL Kagan, a Virginia-based media research firm.

While the circulation of traditional English-language daily newspapers has dropped nearly 10 percent over the last decade, the circulation of Spanish-language dailies has increased. Since 1970, the combined circulation of Spanish-language daily newspapers has grown from 140,000 to over 1.7 million in 2002, according to Latino Print Network.

ImpreMedia Inc., one of the largest Spanish-language publishing companies in the nation, is reaping the benefits of Spanish-language media expansion. As owner of the largest daily Spanish-language newspaper in the nation, Los Angeles' La Opinion, and a handful of other weekly Spanish-language newspapers, the ImpreMedia network reaches nearly 5 million U.S. Hispanics every week, and industry insiders am confident these numbers will grow.

"I think that we are in less trouble than English-language newspapers," says Pedro Rojas, La Opinion's executive editor. "We have not gone through layoffs, but we do more with less. Other papers send three reporters to cover a story, we send one. We saw some decline in circulation in January, following a 25 cent price increase, but the majority of our readers have returned."

Circulation for La Opinion hovers at around 125,000 subscribers. "In comparing the annum circulation numbers for last year to this year, our circulation is basically fiat. Without the price change, we would have seen an increase;' says Jim Pellegrino, circulation director for La Opinion.

El Diario La Prensa, a Spanish-language daily in New York, also owned by ImpreMedia, ranked No. 1 in net daily paid circulation growth among the largest daily newspapers in America for the six-month period ending March 2008, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The publication advanced its daily circulation 7.6 percent to 53,856 copies, the largest increase of any newspaper in the country with a circulation over 50,000.

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A "growing audience with an increasing buying power" and a hunger for news is leading the circulation surge, Myers explains in the recent report, "Updated Analysis of TV and Radio Market Revenues. …