The Los Angeles Times and La Opinion on Wednesday announced a pilot program to market and distribute the newspapers jointly in an effort to increase The Times' reach into the Latino community while helping La Opinion expand its distribution.
Times Mirror Co. owns 50% of La Opinion, the nation's leading Spanish-language newspaper, with a daily circulation of 107,000. Under the nine-week program to begin Aug. 2, The Times will be bundled inside nearly all copies of La Opinion, Times Senior Vice President Robert G. Magnuson said. The combined papers will sell for 35 cents at La Opinion news racks and retailers. In certain locations, La Opinion will remain available alone for 25 cents.
In addition, The Times will distribute the bundled papers outside La Opinion's core area, into Riverside, Ventura and San Diego counties and the San Gabriel Valley.
Times Publisher Kathryn M. Downing said the effort--which includes a joint Spanish-language marketing campaign--will appeal to advertisers targeting the Latino market, increase Times circulation and expand La Opinion distribution. It also marks a new relationship for the papers. "We've had a long-term ownership position in La Opinion, but we haven't done anything to the benefit of both papers," she said. "The most important thing about this is we're working together to help both papers."
La Opinion Associate Publisher Monica Lozano said the pilot program "will result in increased circulation for La Opinion, bringing our paper in contact with new readers. . . . From our perspective, we have a lot to gain."
The effort aims to reach the Southland's growing number of bilingual Latino households. According to Los Altos, Calif.-based Access Worldwide, Cultural Access Group, 36% of Los Angeles basin Latino households are fully bilingual and 31% speak Spanish exclusively. Furthermore, a recent national survey of Spanish-language and bilingual publications found that 35% of readers preferred bilingual content, according to Carlsbad, Calif.-based Western Publication Research.
The Times will also begin delivery of La Opinion--alone and with The Times--in the fall, Magnuson said.
The effort comes on the heels of an editorial initiative launched in December to better cover the Latino community. The Times is read by 18% of Latinos in the five-county area on an average weekday, compared with 27% for the general population.