Audit Planned to Boost Hispanic Community Papers

Gemstone Communications Inc.'s Ethnic Print Media Group division is running a national audit of 71 Hispanic community newspapers whose ad sales interests it represents.

Aimed at bolstering credibility with advertisers and ad agencies, the audits are being conducted by the Circulation Verification Council, an independent third-party auditor specializing in niche titles.

“For a lot of local publishers, the cost of an audit is hard to justify and, possibly, for their local advertisers it's not required,” said Trevor Hansen, vice president of Ethnic Print Media, San Diego. “But when you get into the regional and national landscape, when you're playing by Madison Avenue [rules], circulation and cost per thousand are the components that a media is compared by. And without an audit in place, it's hard for an ad agency to analyze and recommend a media.”

The papers being audited are among the 250 clients of Ethnic Print Media, a national media representation firm. They include Impact USA, Los Angeles; El Bohemio, San Francisco; El Latino, San Diego; El Heraldo, Dallas; Rumbo, San Antonio; La Informacion, Houston; La Semana, Boston; Ecento Latino, Fayetteville, NC; and Atlanta Latino.

The audit covers Hispanic papers in 25 states.

The program also covers individual publication readership profiles and a study of Hispanic newspaper readers nationwide. This is expected to yield demographic information as well as buying patterns and interests on a local and national basis.

The first audits will be ready by January. Preliminary results will be distributed later in the fall.

Ethnic Print Media's decision to steer a large number of Hispanic newspapers it represents toward an audit is a nod to the minority's growing influence in the United States. U.S. Hispanics, numbering 40 million, represent the fastest-growing ethnic group nationwide. They account for 13 percent of the U.S. population. But they do not wield commensurate influence in ad spending.

According to the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, marketers should spend 9 percent of their ad budgets to reach Hispanics. But advertisers typically spend one-half or one-fourth of that amount.

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