The USHCC is a partner in Hispanic Trends, which uses the group's mailing list to boost circulation. In exchange, the chamber receives 6 percent of the magazine's ad revenue, which was estimated to be $844,290 in 2004, according to the HispanicMagazineMonitor. Chamber representatives also make up half of the editorial board of Hispanic Trends, a relationship that has raised questions about the magazine's independence. But Mr. Gonzales says board members only review lists of suggested stories.
Sam Verdeja, publisher of Hispanic Trends, joined with three partners to buy Hispanic Publishing from founder Fred Estrada in February 2003, taking control of Hispanic Magazine and Hispanic Trends. Mr. Estrada kept Vista Magazine and formed a new company, Vista Media. At the time of the sale, Hispanic Trends reported circulation of about 50,000. In November, when Televisa bought its 51 percent stake, Hispanic Trends reported a circulation of 100,000, with plans to increase publishing frequency from six issues in 2004 to eight in 2005. Circulation growth stemmed from direct-marketing efforts and increased distribution to chamber members, Mr. Verdeja says. Hispanic Trends also reported a 109 percent increase in advertising revenue in 2004, to $844,290 from $402,242 in 2003, according to HispanicMagazineMonitor.
Industry insiders say that with Hispanic Magazine as the real prize (with a reported circulation of 280,000 and revenues of $7.6 million a year), a variety of major players considered investing in Hispanic Publishing, including Time Inc. and Condé Nast, creating what one observer described as "an aggressive auction" for the company. "It's a strong platform to build up for them," says Kim Mac Leod, managing director of DeSilva & Phillips, a media-focused investment bank. "The company has a foothold in both camps [consumer and business-to-business], and a lot of publishers don't have that foothold."
Ultimately, Editorial Televisa reportedly paid $4 million for its 51 percent stake in Hispanic Publishing, a figure Mr. Verdeja declined to confirm. At the time of the sale, Mr. Verdeja still owed Mr. Estrada, the previous owner, $4 million, a debt which has been paid off since the Televisa investment, Mr. Verdeja says. Mr. Estrada did not return a phone call seeking comment, and Mr. Verdeja declined to discuss any changes in the company since the sale.
But the purchase pushed Editorial Televisa into a sizable role in the U.S. Hispanic publishing market, and allowed Hispanic Magazine and Hispanic Trends to tap Televisa's distribution and advertising networks. Televisa's move into the market also signals that more big players are looking to partner or consolidate to build a presence in the growing market. Poder beefed up both its editorial and marketing by signing a partnership agreement with The Economist in which each issue includes several articles from The Economist, as well as a column by Michael Reid, The Economist's Latin American editor.
Ultimately, experts say that despite the number of longtime publications in the market – Hispanic Business magazine, for example, was started in 1979 – the business magazine sector targeting Hispanics is relatively young. Of the hundreds of Hispanic magazines tracked by Latino Print Network, 51 percent were started in the 1990s and 29 percent after 2000.
Few doubt that more big players are likely to enter the market, either through acquisitions or launching new titles. "If you don't expect other competition to come in, you're living in a fantasy," says Mr. Verdeja. "Whoever better satisfies the needs of readers and advertisers will stay around. Like any other business, it will be survival of the fittest."
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