MEDIA MAN

Mexico 2014 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Luis Miguel González Márquez, Director General Editorial of El Economista, on present priorities, trends in the sector, and telecommunications reform.

Luis Miguel González Márquez
BIOGRAPHY
Luis Miguel González Márquez presents regular commentaries on the economy and business on Radio Fórmula and Foro TV, as well as serving as Professor of economic journalism at the Fundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano in Cartagena in Colombia. He earned a degree in economics at the Universidad de Guadalajara, an MA in journalism at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, and completed the Economic Journalism Program at the University of Columbia in New York. He is also a contributor to a number of other major publications, and had previously worked as an editor on multiple publications since 1991. In addition, he has received the Citibank Award for Excellence in Economic Journalism in Mexico and the Fernando Benítez Prize for Cultural Journalism.

What are the priorities set for El Economista for the next two years?

We should focus on three tracks. One is the digital highway, while the second concerns quality. A lot of information is available for free, so the only way to maintain an organization made up of professional journalists is to rely heavily on quality. This means developing the talent here and understanding that the media business is not different from other businesses. There are a lot of things we have to learn from other businesses, especially from the creative industries. The third path is hyper-specialization. Everyone is talking about the crisis in the media business, especially in newspapers and magazines, but I think that, somehow, it has hit the general newspapers and magazines harder. I think being specialized and recognized as such is, in a way, a safety net. The biggest challenge is to become better at what you do best.

How have the printed and online editions of El Economista developed in recent years, and what are your future projects?

The printing business is a long horizontal line. We have to expand our geographic area. We have a newspaper in Querétaro and we have made some moves to be in a better situation even in Mexico City. It is a large geographic area, and it is not exactly well covered. We are trying to improve our distribution in major cities such as Guadalajara, Monterrey, Tijuana, and Cancún. We do not just have the newspaper, but we have six magazines, most of them in the luxury market. We are trying to ensure the magazines get to be real national magazines. One of them is about equestrian lifestyles, while another is about watches. I would say our newspaper is related to how people work and make money, and the magazines are more related to how they spend it. The readership of the online edition is growing. Every year the numbers grow about 20% to 30%. On top of that, advertising revenue grows by 45% to 50%. But that is not such a great success story as it is a small part of the total revenue, at around 8% to 9%. The real challenge is to make a business model that really works not just for our company, but also for our readership. You have to think big.

What are the main trends within the journalism and communications industry in Mexico?

Even though paper is not fading, mobile is growing really fast. In order to be excellent, you have to translate what you are doing in the paper to the desktop and to the mobile, but you have to be careful not to think that what works in one is going to work in the other. Something we want to get more into is interactive social media. Being the type of newspaper we are, everything is related to informative flashes. Everything is changing very quickly and we must be prepared to change our minds every year. The readership has real power and you have to take it very seriously.

How will the telecommunications reform impact the communications industry in Mexico?

The impact will be huge, but having said that it is very hard to make a prognosis for the future. We are going to see new companies and enjoy a more competitive environment, especially with the ongoing technological revolution. Concerning foreign investment, it would be good if we could make some kind of warning to incoming ventures to take it very seriously and to learn about Mexico before investing. There are a lot of opportunities, but they are not necessarily easy to get at. You have to be prepared to dive into a complex society. For Mexicans, we have to be prepared to compete with the best that can come from any country. You have to be aware, and in a way, paranoid about that competition.