News not as troubling at US Hispanic media outlets

A recent study from the Pew Center for Excellence in Journalism found US Hispanic press - both Spanish- and English-language - is faring much better than the general- interest media, both in terms of audience and revenues.

In the news
A recent study from the Pew Center for Excellence in Journalism found US Hispanic press - both Spanish- and English-language - is faring much better than the general- interest media, both in terms of audience and revenues.

Why does it matter?
The 2010 US Census found that the Latino population more than doubled since 1990, surpassing 50 million. And while many Hispanics are now as comfortable with English as they are with Spanish, they show surprising loyalty to Hispanic-centric outlets, especially traditional print and broadcast.

"We've been writing about the Hispanic community during times the mainstream never really did, unless it was dramatic," explained Clara Padilla Andrews, president of the National Association of Hispanic Publications. "As a result, the Hispanic community doesn't really read the mainstream press. So as their numbers grow, there's a much larger demand for our newspapers."

This doesn't mean US Hispanic media is immune to the same challenges as general-interest outlets, notably audience fragmentation spurred by the rise of online/social media.

But as John Echeveste, partner with PR firm VPE, says, "The growth in social media and online Hispanic media tends to be bilingual, while traditional Hispanic media tends to be Spanish only. It's why you haven't seen much growth in social media."

That online/social media growth will come eventually, but Echeveste says PR pros must realize that regardless of the platform - or even the language - US Hispanic outlets tend to have a different view of news than the general US press.

"There's a lot of entertainment, but news [outlets] focus on providing service and useful information for their markets," he says. "That gives PR many opportunities to work with them on these programs and to get stories placed."

Key facts
1. According to the US Census Bureau, the Hispanic US population is expected to reach 66 million by 2020. 

2. Spanish-language channel ad rates are typically 50% to 75% lower than similar English-language channels, but are up about 25% in the last two years, finds MediaVest. 

3. Univision has announced plans for its own 24-hour news channel, Univision 24/7, set to debut in 2012. 

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