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Patok Pinoy: A New Addition to Filipino Media

NCM Profile

NCM, Brahmani Houston Posted: Jul 06, 2004

The Bay Area-based Filipino paper Patok Pinoy has only been around for three months and already it is expanding to Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The managers expect to expand the weekly paper to 40,000 issues twice a week by 2005. Even their competitors are calling to congratulate them on the papers extraordinary success.

This new addition to the Filipino media landscape has, in short, taken its constituency by storm. No wonder, since the owners recruited two of the top Filipina marketing and sales representatives in the business.

Marilyn King and Thelma Cruz had already worked together for over a decade at another Filipino publication when they were approached by Patok Pinoys owners.

Though they are now working seven days a week in the hectic startup phase of the business, King and Cruz say it doesnt feel like work. They have a partnering share in the paper, and a personal investment in its success.

Published in Taglish, or Tagalog and English, the brightly colored tabloid features sensational headlines, photos of beautiful women, weekly lottery results and a big thumbs-up logobut King and Cruz say it is the localized stories from the Philippines that draw its strong readership base. Patok Pinoy offers regionally specific content from the Philippines, allowing Filipinos living in the United States to read stories directly from their province or city in the Philippines.

King and Cruz say another key to their success was insisting on being audited by Verified Audit. They say Patok Pinoy is one of the only Filipino publications in the United States that audits its distribution, making it very appealing to advertisers. So appealing, in fact, that two car dealerships were fighting over a long-term contract for the entire back page.

King resolved this by promising one of the dealerships to always print a pin-up girl opposite their ad on the inside. One week the paper forgot to run the pin-up opposite their ad and the dealership didnt pay.

Though half-naked women may seem risqu material for a paper that considers itself somewhat conservative and targeted at all members of the family, it is far less risqu than their parent paper in Manila, which once sent them a photo of a fully nude woman that the Bay Area paper refused to run.

Because most of the papers material comes directly from the Philippines, it only has one editor at its San Bruno office. But it also includes two locally written columns by immigration attorneys that offer advice to local families. King and Cruz expect to include other local content soon, such as community pages and real estate advice. They also plan to create a website for the publication in the next few months.

With more than one million Filipino Americans living in California, Patok Pinoy will not likely run out of potential readers any time soon. After only three months on the newsstands, the publication is working to gain the largest circulation of any Filipino publication in the state, which King and Cruz say it will achieve by hiring six different distributors in northern California alone.

Locals can find the paper at Filipino restaurants and groceries, and certain Walgreens, dental offices, video stores and even in the entrances of Catholic churches.

King says she recently walked into one of her favorite Filipino restaurants and saw almost every diner reading her paper. Im really happy to see that, she says, beaming at her newfound success.

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