By: Mark Fitzgerald
Most chains fold their rival paper if it falls into their hands. ImpreMedia LLC, the big Spanish-language newspaper chain that on Monday agreed to buy Tribune Co.’s New York edition of Hoy, says will keep the Spanish-language daily publishing.
“About shutting down, it never entered our head,” ImpreMedia Chairman and CEO John Paton said in a telephone interview from New York City after meeting with the Hoy staff.
ImpreMedia, which publishes New York City’s oldest and largest paid Spanish-language daily, El Diario La Prensa, said combining the free-distribution Hoy with its paid daily will give it unprecedented print penetration in the market.
By adding Hoy New York, ImpreMedia increases its readership in the nation’s second-largest Hispanic market to 478,393 based on Scarborough numbers. “We also double our circulation to 106,000,” Paton added.
Tribune Co. is selling the New York edition to fast-growing ImpreMedia, but would continue to publish Hoy in Los Angeles and Chicago, and continue publishing its weekly Spanish-language papers in south Florida.
Terms of the sale, expected to close in the first quarter of this year, were not disclosed.
“Although Hoy New York made good progress over the last year, we did not see a path to profitability in this market,” Tribune Publishing President Scott C. Smith said in a statement. “Hoy is a better operational fit for ImpreMedia, a respected Spanish-language publisher that will carry on Hoy’s commitment to informing and entertaining New York’s widely diverse Hispanic community.”
ImpreMedia, which has grown to the nation’s largest Spanish-language chain by relentless acquisitions of papers, sees the purchase of Hoy New York as a way to get into the business of free dailies.
“Like anyone who’s been following the advent of free transit dailies, we see that as an exciting business,” Paton said. “And the companies who do best in this marry a paid product with the free daily.”
El Diario, which grew 6% in the last Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) reporting period — the fastest in the nation — has created an efficient system for distributing its paid paper and the free El Diario Contigo, Paton said. “People forget that this is El Diario’s 94th year, so it’s not like we’re Johnny come latelys to this,” he said.
ImpreMedia said, citing Scarborough research, that the combined readership of Hoy and El Diario La Prensa will allow it “to deliver nearly twice the number of Spanish-preferred adults as New York’s leading Spanish-language TV station, owned by Univision, and nearly three times more than New York’s leading Spanish-language radio station. “
El Diario, audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, has a paid circulation of 50,105 and Scarborough-measured daily readership of 266,812. ImpreMedia also publishes El Diario Contigo, a free-distribution weekend publication that is audited by Certified Audits of Circulations (CAC) and delivered to nearly 200,000 households in high-density Hispanic Zip Codes throughout the New York metropolitan area. Hoy’s New York edition has a CAC-audited free-distribution of 56,207. Its weekend total market coverage-like publication Fin de Semana has a distribution of 54,934 in the New York market.
Paton said there are no immediate plans to change Hoy’s editorial focus. “We like the product, it’s a different kind of product than El Diario, which is good, it appeals to a different reader,” he said.
Tribune said that the Los Angeles and Chicago editions of Hoy “will be more closely aligned” with their sister papers, the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, respectively.
The two chains will continue to compete in Los Angeles, where ImpreMedia publishes the largest-circulation Spanish-language daily La Opinion, and in Chicago, where it owns the weekly La Raza.
In its sale announcement, Tribune also reported new appointments.
Javier J. Aldape, who was named as Hoy’s acting publisher when Digby Solomon Diez became publisher of Tribune’s Daily Press in Newport News, Va., will now serve as general manager and editor of Hoy’s Los Angeles edition, and oversee shared editorial content in both editions, Tribune said.
Julian G. Posada will as Hoy general manager in Chicago. Anne S. Kelly, Hoy vice president/advertising, will manage national sales and major retail accounts for both editions of Hoy, Tribune said.
Tribune acquired the New York Hoy with its purchase of Times Mirror in 2000. The paper was started by Newsday and run for years by its founding editor and publisher Louis Sito, who Tribune ultimately named its first vice president for Hispanic print. In 2004, a scheme to fraudulently inflate circulation at Newsday and Hoy New York was discovered, and Sito was forced to retire. He has pleaded guilty to federal charges in relation to the circulation scheme, but has not yet been sentenced.