Teresa Elizalde, editor-in-chief, Magazine Group at Argentina’s La Nación, on diversifying print magazines into the digital space, including how La Nación is monetising brands beyond print and digital.
Tell us about Latin American magazine market – how well advanced the market is in terms or digital transformation and the landscape in general.
In terms of Latin America in general, the trends and specific situations vary in each individual country. You cannot make easy comparisons between Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, etc – they are all very different. But here in Argentina specifically we are in an economic crisis and there are a lot of pressures on the magazine market as a result of that. But we are also going through a huge transformation in terms of digital – and in that sense, all the countries in the region are in the same boat – because all the major players see the value in that change.
Brazil and Argentina are definitely the biggest markets, in the region in terms of magazine brands. Brazil has a huge magazine market. But each country within the region is at a different stage of its development.
Tell us about the magazine arm of La Nación, some of the brands you have and how you are developing them.
La Nación is one of the two biggest newspaper brands in Argentina – but we also have the biggest stable of magazines in the region. No other company has such a big selection of magazine titles. Among those, we have two licensed products – Rolling Stone and ¡Hola!, the Spanish-language version of Hello! Magazine. The demand for digital and social here is not as big as other parts of the world, but we are working on that diversification and also diversifying hugely in other ways – taking these brands into areas such as events and network platforms that speak to specific audiences and allow them to chat and connect. We do one with women and we do something similar with entrepreneurs. There’s also one in the gardening sector, which allows people to interact and share information. We also have Living, which is celebrating 20 years in the market. That sells 70,000 issues per month – and for that we are not just putting the content online, but producing separate digital content because we know the audience doesn’t just want the magazine content pasted online, it wants more value. To give us that focus, we concentrate on ‘service’ – understanding what service each brand can deliver to our audiences to give them something they need or cannot get elsewhere.
And we are doing that in a coordinated way. We have seven separate projects running right now – one for each magazine – all on the La Nación platform but all delivering something slightly different for audiences. We know how to reach a big audience, so the focus now is on giving them what they want.
How is this focus driving success and growth for the business?
We are seeing really good growth into new areas and we will continue to grow diversification. With Ohlalá!, for example, in addition to moving the audience on to other platforms, we are also selling more print editions, because we are making a package whereby they can buy access to the 12 print editions along with access to additional content through a paywall. That gives value to our content – selling subscriptions. That is really quite a new business model for this region. It’s about pulling together all the aspects of the brand to monetise it and grow it in a different way.
How is the talent situation in Argentina?
In Buenos Aires, the talent picture is good. As you might expect, it’s a little tougher in the regions. One of the issues we are tackling is around the level of talent coming up. The people in their 40s and 50s are really talented journalists. Perhaps the new breed coming up don’t quite see journalism the same way – they want to rise so quickly, they want to advance rapidly. We need to manage their expectations. But the general talent picture, particularly on our products, which have a great reputation, is pretty good.
What’s exciting you going forward?
I think for me, the really exciting thing on the horizon is big data. We can do a lot more on insight around our audiences and what people are searching for. That will allow us to launch new products based on data, because at the moment we are only just starting our journey around big data and we can definitely do more with that.