Hispanic Circ Growth Skips Dailies

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

Spanish-language and Hispanic-oriented newspapers enjoyed significant growth at a time the circulation of mainstream daily newspapers declined 1.9%, the National Association of Hispanic Publishers says.

But a look at the Audit Bureau of Circulations’ Fas-Fax numbers released this week shows that Spanish-language dailies — once the fastest growing segment in the industry — are now seeing circulation reverses. The two biggest dailies, La Opinion in Los Angeles and El Nuevo Herald in Miami, experienced declines at more than twice the industry average. El Diario La Prensa in New York City received no bounce from the circulation scandal that tainted its rival Hoy: Its circulation was virtually unchanged, up an average of just 24 copies to 50,100.

NAHP said of the 128 Hispanic publications audited by Circulation Verification Council, the average circulation growth in 2004 was 4.7% over 2003 — and for publications that have submitted their first quarter 2005 statements the average growth was 7.3% over 2004.

Many of the NAHP newspapers and shoppers are free distribution.

Only four Hispanic publications lost circulation in the period, NAHP said, and several grew by more than 15%, including El Latino in San Diego, Cal.; Mundo Hispanico, the weekly owned by The Atlanta Journal and Constitution; Reflejos Bilingual Journal, published by the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago; and Periodico Buena Suerte in Houston, Tex.

“The trend toward increases in circulation, at about 5% average annually, of Hispanic publications goes in tandem with the rapid growth of the Latino population and the consequent need for information,” said NAHP’s board president, Lupita Colmenero.

Latino-targeted dailies, though, have not kept pace with that population growth. In Los Angeles, La Opinion’s daily circulation was down 3,014 copies, or 2.4%, to 123,614. Its traditionally weaker Sunday edition was down 4.8% to 66,973.

El Nuevo Herald, published by The Miami Herald, was once Knight Ridder’s fastest growing newspaper. In this Audit Bureau reporting period, daily circulation was down 3,911 copies, or 4.3%, to 86,569. Sunday sales were virtually flat, up an average 66 copies to 99,684.

Several new Spanish-language dailies, including the competing La Estrella and Al Dia in the Dallas/Fort Worth market, are too new to be included in the Fas-Fax results.

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