Knowing its audience is key challenge for Latin American publishers

By Shelley Seale

United States

Hieronymus Rodriguez Carbone, portfolio and brand manager for Grupo El Comercio, said that the biggest audience challenge for Latin American companies is simply getting to know the audience.

Speaking at the INMA Conference de Medios Latinoamerica, Carbone said, “We’re coming from a legacy business where we weren't used to having a registered audience.”

Though they had subscribers, they weren’t very interested in who those subscribers were. “We were just interested in selling the newspaper.”

Now, it’s different. “With the digital evolution of the business, we are able to know who they are, where they are, what they are consuming — so we have all this data now,” Carbone said.

“Making the right decisions to explode the data is the most challenging thing,” he said, adding that it’s important to focus on what’s most important at every stage of the business.

The digital age has brought Grupo El Comercio the idea that, as a brand, they are either print or digital. “We don’t see it that way,” Carbone said. “We are a brand of information; we provide information. Whether it is over print or over digital, it’s still the same brand.”

That evolution has given them a broader audience, Carbone explained. Before, the news media company had about a million readers. Now, it have only 800,000 print readers — but 22 million digital readers.

“It has given us a much broader spectrum who are getting reached and who engage with our brand,” he said. “That has really changed the ecosystem, and it’s very important that people understand that.”

When people see a legacy print brand, they may think that because print is dying, they are not relevant anymore. “But we are more than that,” Carbone said. “Print is just a channel; the Web site is another channel, and the smartphone is another channel. And we are inventing different sorts of channels to get a broader reach into the audience.”

About Shelley Seale

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