Local publishing company SouthComm Communications announced today it has signed a letter of intent to purchase The City Paper and its companion Web site nashvillecitypaper.com.
Company executives said the move will mean an increased focus on delivering news on the Web site and a reduction in the number of days the paper is published each week.
SouthComm is a relatively new start-up led by former Nashville Scene publisher Chris Ferrell, who serves as the company’s chief executive officer. SouthComm is the parent company of online news site nashvillepost.com and music business publication Music Row.
Albie Del Favero, publisher of The City Paper, announced the planned sale today to the paper’s staff and said the SouthComm purchase from the Thompson family allows the company to invest further in digital content and delivery. Terms were not disclosed, but the Thompson family will retain a significant minority interest in the new company.
“At the conclusion of our recent strategic planning process, we made the decision that it was time for The City Paper to expand its scope from solely publishing a newspaper to becoming a company that publishes a local paper and delivers daily news and information online. The sale to SouthComm accelerates our intentions,” Del Favero said.
Del Favero announced The City Paper, Nashville’s free, five-day-a-week daily newspaper, will focus on building news-gathering capabilities online, including additional video features, and will only publish the print version of the newspaper on Mondays and Fridays, beginning April 28.
Ferrell said the purchase of The City Paper fits the company’s long-term business strategy. He added that Del Favero would stay on as publisher of The City Paper and veteran journalist Clint Brewer will continue as executive editor.
“SouthComm Communications is built on the premise that Americans increasingly want their daily news delivered online and that the future of print is in high quality, intelligent, niche products that come out on a less-frequent basis, but provide more in-depth news and information for people to read,” Ferrell said.
The announcement of SouthComm’s purchase of The City Paper comes days after the company announced the purchase of the monthly BusinessTN and intentions to start a new women’s magazine, Her Nashville.
“SouthComm is acquiring and creating a suite of niche publications that we hope will be interesting and informative to Nashville-area readers. With our announcements this week, we are beginning to realize the vision of the next-generation publishing company,” Ferrell said.
Del Favero added, “Advertisers are following readers to online products and are becoming more unwilling to subsidize regularly rising paper and fuel costs. Our business must make the transition to digital content and delivery to thrive in the future.”