SouthComm Inc., the parent of The City Paper, NashvillePost.com and other niche publications, has signed an agreement to buy the assets of Nashville Scene and Nfocus magazine from City Press LLC, the company officially announced Wednesday.“The Scene is the strongest arts and entertainment brand in Nashville,” said SouthComm CEO Chris Ferrell. “Pairing it and Nfocus with our other niche publications made good strategic sense.”
Terms of the deal are not being disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close this week.
With the addition of the Scene and Nfocus, SouthComm will own eight Nashville-area publications, cementing its place as Middle Tennessee’s largest locally owned media company.
“NFocus is a Nashville original that will continue to be the city’s premier outlet for coverage of the social scene and philanthropy,” Ferrell said. “And, having been publisher of the Scene for three years, I’m also very familiar with the quality staff we’ll have the opportunity to bring on board.”
Founded in late 2007 after Ferrell left his post at the Scene, SouthComm now employs more than 150 people — the majority of them in Middle Tennessee. It also operates an alternative newsweekly in Louisville as well as two custom publishing businesses that cater primarily to chambers of commerce.
“As the daily newspaper model struggles ever more, advertisers and readers are increasingly looking for next-generation sources of news, information and advertising,” said Ferrell, adding that the combined City Paper/Scene readership will be almost as large as that of The Tennessean. “The key to our strategy is not the mass reach, however. It is being able to deliver specifically targeted audiences to our advertisers when they need to reach them.
“Few people read the whole daily paper; they read sections that appeal to them. We essentially are unbundling the daily,” he added. “The City Paper is our brand for news and sports, the Nashville Post and BusinessTN are our business news brands and the Scene gives us the strongest brand in the market for coverage of arts and culture. With this acquisition, we’ve built out our Nashville model. Over time, we will look to replicate our work here in other cities.”