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Petersen Signs Deal to Publish Teen in Spanish

October 28, 1998|STEPHEN GREGORY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Hoping to cash in on the hemisphere's growing number of Latina youth--and their buying power--Los Angeles publisher Petersen Cos. said Tuesday it has inked a licensing agreement with a Miami-based company to publish Teen magazine in Spanish.

Teen en Espanol is expected to hit newsstands in both Latin America and the United States in March. Petersen is the latest of a growing number of U.S. magazine publishers that are putting out Spanish-language editions to reach surging Latino markets at home and abroad.

The Teen venture, however, marks the first time a U.S. publication will be geared specifically to Latina youth, said Carlos Modia, president of Ideas Publishing Group, which bought the rights to publish Teen en Espanol for an undisclosed amount.

Modia said the format of Teen en Espanol will stay true to its American origins but offer readers more dish on Latin American celebrities. Ideas Publishing will also put out nine regional versions of each monthly edition Teen en Espanol to tailor offerings to specific countries such as Mexico, Argentina and the United States.

The initial run of the magazine is expected to be 400,000 copies, with 50,000 of those to be distributed in major Latino markets in the U.S. such as Los Angeles, Miami and New York. Roughly 350,000 copies will be dispersed in more than 22 Latin American countries.

Latino youth in the U.S., both girls and boys, have been one of the fastest-growing segments of the population this decade, outpacing growth in the overall number of teens by 26%, said Loretta Adams, president of Market Development Inc. research in San Diego.

South of the border, teens make up about 20% of the total population, Adams said, and tend to be as much brand-conscious consumers as their U.S. counterparts. "They do have a significant amount of money," she said.

Modia is hoping to sell that message to U.S. advertisers, who have embraced his company's other U.S. magazine crossovers circulated in Latin America such as Newsweek en Espanol and Glamour en Espanol.

Teen readership in the U.S. and Canada is estimated at 2 million.

Petersen, which publishes 125 magazines, approached privately held Ideas Publishing about the arrangement a year ago.

Shares of Petersen stock rose 44 cents to close at $27 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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