LATAM’s challenges and opportunities

As we gear up to explore global publishing trends at the forthcoming FIPP World Media Congress, we ask Gustavo Bruno, director of circulation at Argentinian publisher Perfil and chair of the Argentinian publishing body AAER to offer some insight into the region and his own company’s strategy for success…

***Join us at the FIPP World Media Congress, taking place from 12-14 November 2019 in Las Vegas, to hear more about the media sector in the LATAM region from Paula Mageste and Teresa Elizalde. Register before 25 September for discounted delegate rates. View the full agenda here.***

Tell us about the market landscape in Latin America right now, and what’s driving the magazine market there…

The outlook of the Latin American magazines market is influenced by two important elements: the economic-social situation and the impact of the digital environment.

In 2018 Brazil grew barely 1.1% equal to its demographic growth, far below the 4.7% growth of 2014. Unemployment is 12%, with a significant decrease of investment and increase of prices. For 2019, perspectives are further discouraging, and some consulting firms estimate a GNP growth of only 1.8%.

In the case of Argentina, its economy is in recession with growing inflation and a fall in the currency’s value. The perspectives for 2019 estimate inflation of around 40% and a 1.5% fall in GDP.

The magazines market in 2018 showed a 10.2% decrease in sales compared with 2017, and a remarkable decrease of advertising revenue, especially in the printed media. Despite this, the main publishing companies continue to explore digital opportunities and to diversify their product offerings.

What are the big emerging trends you are monitoring at the moment?

At the moment, there are two really interesting areas that we are monitoring. One is the growing diversification of the market, which is pushing companies to adapt in a technical sense – changing the way content reaches the customers in terms of both print and digital.

The second is the growing influence of the digital environment, which is driving companies to make more use of analytical and insight software to analyse the shapes and socio-demographic characteristics of who is accessing content and in what ways. This analysis is serving up some interesting trends and opportunities.

How specifically is Perfil adapting to the market trends and changes?

The changes in the region have created a series of opportunities for Perfil Publishers, not least to grow and promote our activities in neighbouring countries. In the case of Brazil, we are growing our market share as we adapt to the new commercial and cultural environment.

Can you share an example?

 Our Caras magazine brand, for example, is now published in Uruguay with country-specific content and also in Miami, US, for the Spanish-speaking population. The magazine also has a strong digital offering and attracts almost 60 million unique user visitors, making it the greatest digital impact and penetration medium in Latin America.

What is the core focus of your strategy right now?

Our current approach is built on three core areas of focus. The first area of focus is adapting and innovating the existing products, so we can establish a synergy between continuity of the trademark and innovations that further strengthen the brand.

The second area is maintaining well-established trademarks in the host country, maintaining the design and specific language – but adapting it to the local peculiarities of other markets, such as the example of Caras in Uruguay and the US.

The third area is to launch publications with high international recognition trademarks, which offer the reader a degree of trust, achieving advertising revenues and issue sales quickly.

What consumer habits are particularly interesting in your region right now?

There is a common denominator derived from the growing interest in the digital environment in its different channels, platforms and tools. These consumer habits are essentially segmented by age, so in the millennials sector the “digital pressure” is dominant and decreases with age.

The publishers tend to maintain a balance between both digital and print, so as not to miss the potential and range of their products.

What trends are you seeing around revenue models – advertising, licensing, subscriptions etc? 

The general trends are really conditioned by the commercial policies of each company. There are organisations that have focused on strengthening subscriptions, attaching them to commercial and financial agreements that enable them to offer a series of advantages to the clients, such as discounts in purchases, shows, restaurants, etc.

We are also seeing the continued acquisition of licenses around internationally tested products, although this is less common than the above. On the other hand, digital developments are driving paid-for content and further strengthening the position of brands.

So, in short, while we are seeing a volatile trading environment and a tough economic climate, there is great opportunity to adapt and grow the content offering.

Written by Jon Watkins.

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