As one of Colombia’s regional newspapers, El Colombiano has always competed for advertising with the largest daily newspapers in Bogotá, the nation’s capital.

Building on existing partnerships with other regional publishers, El Colombiano has created a new digital business that is capturing online advertising for itself and its media partners.

Pera Digital is a partnership of regional news media companies, led by El Colombiano.
Pera Digital is a partnership of regional news media companies, led by El Colombiano.

“We created a national option for advertising clients without being one single company,” says Martha Ortiz, chief editor of El Colombiano. 

The newly formed Pera Digital is an independent digital advertising sales company representing El Colombiano and seven other regional media companies. Together, they account for 11 million unique visitors and 72 million pageviews each month. 

El Colombiano, which also owns a business newspaper in Bogotá and a free weekly newspaper, is no stranger to partnerships with other media companies. It had previously worked with the same regional newspaper publishers to create Periódicos Asociados, a national print advertising sales group representing the regional newspapers. It also has an editorial partnership for covering national news called Colprensa.

Pera represents “the second chapter of the same idea for the digital environment,” Ortiz says. 

One reason for breaking out Pera from the existing Periódicos Asociados print advertising partnership was to give the new company room to experiment in the digital space. “We are still learning,” Ortiz says. “It’s a small company, so it can be faster.”

As an independent company, Pera is led by a board comprised of representatives from each media organisation. This was a critical step in building trust with El Colombiano’s partners, some of which are considerably smaller companies, Ortiz says: “We wanted to create a trustable space.” 

Pera’s independence also allows it to move more quickly in the digital space. “It can be hard to move the [traditional] commercial departments,” Ortiz says. “They can be more efficient.”

Pera Digital brings in all digital ad revenue for El Colombiano and is expected to continue growing.
Pera Digital brings in all digital ad revenue for El Colombiano and is expected to continue growing.

Pera Digital targets advertisers in the automotive, lifestyle, finance, retail, education, real estate, technology, and travel categories. One key challenge for the independent company is managing each participating newspaper’s guidelines for more invasive digital advertising formats, such as interstitials and floating banners, as well as native advertising. 

Today, almost all of El Colombiano’s digital revenue is derived from Pera Digital, Ortiz says. She predicts that as Colombia’s digital advertising market continues to grow, Pera Digital will become more tightly integrated with its participating newspapers — and attract new ones.

“Now our competitors from Bogotá want to do things with us,” she says. “The market is becoming more challenging, and getting together is becoming more and more of an advantage. Let’s grow the industry together.”

This is one of 14 case studies featured in INMA’s strategic report “Revenue Diversification Beyond Traditional Print and Digital,” released in December 2015.