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Spanish-Language Dailies Expand A Bitter Battle… El Diario/La Opinion Merger Creates Newspaper Empire…Tribune Publishing To Counter With Hoy

Spanish-Language Dailies Expand A Bitter Battle

By DANIELA GERSON, Staff Reporter of the Sun

21 January 2004
Copyright © 2004
The New York Sun, One SL, LLC. All rights reserved.

When New York's two Spanish-language dailies, El Diario/La Prensa and Hoy, announced separately that they were moving into the Los Angeles market it was the first step in creating competing national Hispanic newspaper companies vying for the multibillion dollar national advertising market.

El Diario, with about 50,000 daily sales, merged with the Los Angeles daily La Opinion, circulation about 130,000,last Thursday to form Impremedia LLC, partnering two of the country's oldest and most respected Hispanic dailies.

Four days later, Chicago-based Tribune Company's Hoy, with a circulation of 90,000, announced the creation of a Los Angeles version of the same newspaper.

The two newspapers are taking their bitter New York competition to the national level.

Local advertising in New York is a $150 million market, said the president for the Latino Print Network, Kirk Whisler. By expanding into L.A., the two newspapers are increasing the potential to attract much larger national advertisers, following the example of Spanish language television.

"We will be able to establish an effective platform with national scope for advertisers and marketers who wish to use the power of newspapers to reach the rapidly growing and influential Latino market," said Jose Ignacio Lozano, whose Mexican journalist grandfather founded Los Angeles's only Spanish daily, La Opinion, in 1926.

Impremedia will be based in New York and chaired by Steve Radar, a managing general partner of the private investment group Clarity Partners. Mr. Radar was previously instrumental in acquiring and building Univision, the country's largest Spanish-language television network, whose advertising power the partners are hoping to replicate.

El Diario, founded in 1913, is the oldest Spanish-language newspaper in the country, and La Opinion will continue to function as independent publications.

Hoy, which in October launched a publication in Chicago, is using the model that has made the tabloid New York's largest-circulation Spanish-language daily.

"What we're looking at is to have a national brand which will make it very easy for people to connect with and to make it easy for advertisers to send the message to the Hispanic community they're trying to reach, but at the same time to have very localized coverage," said the vice president of Hispanic media at the Tribune and Hoy publisher, Louis Sito.

In 1998,Mr.Sito,then advertising senior vice president at Newsday, created Hoy when he noticed a decline in the paper's circulation in emerging middleclass Hispanic communities on Long Island.

The formula, according to Mr. Sito, was to target the city's rapidly diversifying Hispanic community, rather than the more-established Hispanic communities such as the Puerto Ricans El Diario had cornered." The idea of having a paper that would cover all the different communities is what made us connect with the community and is what made us a success," Mr. Sito said.

The diversity of the Hispanic community can also be a challenge for Spanish language publications, particularly when it comes to differences in national dialects. "We have to pay a lot of attention to the way we write pieces," Hoy's news editor, Javier Castaneda, said. "A drinking straw, for example, in Puerto Rico they call that sorbeto, in Mexico it is popote, and in Colombia they call it pidillo, in Cuba pajita."

Mr. Sito said the Tribune's strategy is to eventually serve the nearly 40 million Hispanics counted in the last census, about 70% of them living in eight markets across the country, with Hoy.

El Diario and La Opinion are banking on their reputations as the oldest and most prestigious Spanish-language newspapers to propel them as a national force.

But with the fierce competition from Hoy, Hispanic marketing specialist Roy Cosme said, El Diario and La Opinion must take a lesson in their competitor's innovation.

"It's great to appeal to the audience on tradition," said Mr. Cosme, the president and owner of Arcos communications, a Latino public relations and marketing company in New York. "But I think from a business perspective they have to compete better with Hoy on the other levels, too."

Knight Moves To Create Spanish Language Newspaper Empire: Out Flanks Media Giant

Barbara Shecter

Financial Post, with files from Reuters

16 January 2004
Copyright © 2004
National Post. All rights reserved.

Monica Lozano of La Opinion announces the creation of Impremedia LLC on Thursday at Union Station in Los Angeles.
(Aurelia Ventura -- La Opinion)

An investment group including a division of the Bank of Montreal and former Toronto Sun publisher Doug Knight has displaced Chicago-based Tribune Co. to add Los Angeles's La Opinion -- the largest Spanish-language newspaper in U.S. -- to its El Diario newspaper in New York.

But the group's new company, Impremedia LLC, might soon find itself in competition with Tribune, which launched a Spanish-language daily in Chicago in September and is rumoured to be planning one for Los Angeles where it publishes the Los Angeles Times.

Tribune, Impremedia and several other companies are hoping to capitalize on the growing marketing clout of Hispanics, who are now the largest minority group in the U.S.

Mr. Knight and his investment group bought El Diario in July and quickly waded into a battle when the editor quit after publicizing his intention to publish a column by Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

But yesterday's deal, along with an agreement with Knight-Ridder Inc.'s El Nuevo Herald newspaper, catapults them into the big leagues and will enable Impremedia to start selling national advertising with "one order, one bill," and achieving a national presence, he said.

El Diario and La Opinion alone serve a combined market of about 10 million Latinos, according to company officials. Mr. Knight added that 10 cities in the U.S. have a Latino population of more than one million.

Yesterday's merger of El Diario with La Opinion, appeared to surprise Tribune Co., whose five-year-old Spanish-language daily Hoy has already begun to outsell Impremedia's 90-year-old El Diario.

In a release yesterday, Jack Fuller, the president of Tribune Publishing, said Tribune had sold its 50% of La Opinion back to the founding Lozano family and supported its decision to operate as an independent newspaper.

"I think questions about independence are interesting," said Tribune spokeswoman Christine Hennessey, who declined to say whether the company would try to stand in the way of the deal between the Lozano family and the investment group behind Impremedia.

"It's been rumoured that Tribune might bring Hoy into the L.A. market, but we have not stated that."

Mr. Knight was coy about how the financial buyers, who helped finance the Lozano family's purchase of Tribune's stake in La Opinion, out-manoeuvred Tribune which had owned the stake in La Opinion since 2000.

"[The Lozano family] exercised an option to release themselves from Tribune ... to become independent," he said, adding that Tribune picked up the stake in the newspaper when it bought the Times-Mirror Co.

Times-Mirror had been part-owner of La Opinion since 1990.

Jose Lozano told Reuters that the "relationship with Tribune wasn't working for quite some time."

Mr Knight's partners include Los Angeles-based private equity firm Clarity Partners, BMO Halyard Partners and ACON Investments of Washington.

Mr. Knight and his partner John Paton, who have a stake in the new company, will continue to act as operational consultants to the newspapers. The pair cashed in on their Sun Media holdings in 1999 when Quebecor Inc. bought the company.

Steve Rader, a managing general partner of Clarity Partners, will become chairman of newly created Impremedia. He was instrumental in building Univision, the biggest Spanish-language network in the U.S. which has attracted the interest of media players including Sumner Redstone, chief executive of Viacom Inc.

In 2002, Viacom passed on smaller Spanish-language network Telemundo, which has about 15% of the U.S. Hispanic television market, but NBC paid US$2-billion in cash and stock -- 28 times cash flow.

According to the latest census estimates, the number of Hispanics living in the U.S. has soared, fuelled by robust birthrates and immigration from south of the border.

The Hispanic population hit 37 million as of July 1, 2001, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and more recent estimates place the U.S. Hispanic population at 40.5 million with an additional 3.9 million in Puerto Rico.

The Strategic Research Institute. The group, which last month publicized an annual HIspanic marketing forum taking place in Miami later this month, estimated that Latinos will spend about US$150-billion a year on the transportation, housing and food and beverages.

Companies scheduled to appear at the Miami forum included Hallmark, Heineken USA, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft and MasterCard.

Tribune Publishing To Introduce Hoy In Los Angeles

Continues Commitment to Serve Nation's Growing Hispanic Population With Quality Journalism

19 January 2004
Copyright © 2004
PR Newswire Association LLC. All rights reserved.

CHICAGO, Jan. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Tribune Publishing today announced that it will introduce Hoy in Los Angeles in March, providing daily news and features of interest in Spanish to the nearly 8 million Hispanics in the Los Angeles area.

Hoy debuted in New York in November 1998 and became the No. 1 Spanish- language newspaper in the NY DMA in March 2001; Hoy's Chicago edition was launched in September 2003. Nationwide, Hoy is the fastest growing Spanish- language daily newspaper.

"Hoy will bring news and information to Los Angeles Hispanics with a focus on their local communities, and also provide them with news from their native countries," said Louis Sito, Tribune Publishing vice president/Hispanic media and publisher of Hoy. "We look forward to introducing Los Angeles-area readers to the same trusted, high-quality journalism that Hoy readers now enjoy in New York and Chicago."

Hoy will place an emphasis on credible and impartial journalism with a commitment to local news and features-including coverage of important issues impacting many Hispanic communities throughout the Los Angeles area. Hoy will devote pages each day to news from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Each Friday, readers can follow the latest trends in music, food, movies and local events in Vida Hoy, a weekend supplement highlighting Hispanic culture.

"Tribune Publishing looks forward to bringing Hoy's valuable content and quality journalism to the nation's largest Hispanic community," said Jack Fuller, Tribune Publishing president. "Through its editorial expertise and ability to form a unique, local connection with the community, Hoy has been very successful in New York and Chicago. We believe it will be well-received by Los Angeles Hispanics also."

"Hoy will offer local news from the Los Angeles-area communities where Hispanics live, and on issues that are important to them such as politics, immigration, education, housing and health," added Sito. "It will provide advertisers with an opportunity to reach Los Angeles-area Hispanic consumers, whose retail buying power is estimated to be $48 billion annually."

Available Monday-Friday, Hoy will sell for a quarter throughout the Los Angeles area in vending boxes, at newsstands and in retail outlets.

Tribune Publishing is the leading U.S. major-market newspaper group, with the third-largest total circulation. The company operates 14 daily newspapers: Los Angeles Times; Chicago Tribune; Newsday (Long Island, N.Y.); The Sun (Baltimore); South Florida Sun-Sentinel; Orlando Sentinel; Hartford Courant; The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.); Daily Press (Newport News, Va.); The Advocate (Stamford, Conn.); Greenwich Time (Greenwich, Conn.); and Hoy, a Spanish-language newspaper published in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Additional newspapers for Hispanic consumers, each published weekly, are El Sentinel in Orlando and el Sentinel in South Florida. Tribune Publishing includes Tribune Media Services, a leading provider of entertainment listings and content syndication to print and electronic media; Tribune Interactive, a top source of online news and information; and CLTV, the Chicago region's only 24-hour cable news channel. Investments include CareerBuilder (33% owned) and Classified Ventures (29%).

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