Scourge of the last leftist government and darling of its
co-founder and editor, Pedro Ramirez, El Mundo has been a
quintessentially Spanish newspaper during its nine-year existence.
However, late last year came the news that it was to have a new, very
Anglo-Saxon parent in the form of Pearson, which through its Recoletos
subsidiary is to buy a 20-30 per cent stake in El Mundo’s publisher,
It will give Recoletos and Pearson a stake in the fastest-growing
Spanish newspaper of the 90s and a possible rival to the market leader,
Spain has low newspaper readership by European standards, and a strong
regional press, so advertisers seeking national coverage have only a few
options. The biggest-selling paper is Marca, a sports title, and the
second the left-leaning El Pais, owned by Recoletos’ arch-rival, Prisa.
Tying for third place is the very traditional and right-wing title, ABC,
plus the energetic and relatively youthful El Mundo.
El Mundo was founded in the late 80s by a breakaway group from the daily
newspaper, Diario 16. In the early 90s a stream of articles about
corruption, which were instrumental in unseating the socialist
government, made it a household name. Despite this and the fact that
Ramirez is a personal friend of the new, right-of-centre president, Jose
Maria Azhar, the newspaper claims it has no political allegiance. ’If
there is a corrupt government then we will uncover the stories, whatever
the party,’ a spokesman declares.
The tabloid-sized newspaper introduced colour for both editorial and ads
this year, and displays heavy advertising from car brands, mobile phones
and computers. Despite nine regional editions, its readership profile is
strongly skewed towards Madrid, as is that of El Pais. El Mundo targets
younger consumers than its nearest rival, ABC, with a readership base of
20- to 45-year-olds, drawn from the upper-middle income bracket.
EL MUNDO KEY FACTS
1998 ratecard full-page colour (weekday) pounds 9,500
1998 ratecard full-page colour (Sunday) pounds 11,500
Circulation 1997: El Pais 441,000*
El Mundo 301,000*
*Source: El Mundo, quoting OJD.
Figures include El Mundo’s circulation in the Balearics.