Star-Advertiser owner David Black continued to expand his newspaper empire this week with the purchase of Seattle Weekly. The acquisition was announced at the same time as the sale of San Francisco Weekly to the San Francisco Examiner, owned primarily by Black, according to a press release by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association.
Here’s the WNPA press release:
Sound Publishing, the state’s largest community news organization, announced Wednesday that it has acquired the Seattle Weekly. Details of the purchase were not disclosed.
The Weekly, a freely distributed newspaper in Seattle and nearby cities, was purchased from Village Voice Media Holdings.
The Seattle Weekly reaches over 200,000 unique print and digital readers every week with more than 1,500 outdoor news boxes and in-store racks throughout Seattle and nearby areas. It was founded in 1976 by Darrell Oldham and David Brewster.
Founded in 1987, Sound Publishing publications reach more than 500,000 homes weekly with over 700,000 monthly digital readers. Sound publishes 36 daily, weekly and monthly community newspapers and magazines in addition to the Little Nickel Classifieds in western Washington and northern Oregon. Sound also operates a state of the art print facility in Everett.
“We think highly of the Seattle Weekly and its faithful readership,” said Gloria Fletcher, President of Sound Publishing. “The Weekly fits quite well into Sound Publishing’s culture of delivering unique and relevant content to both print and digital readers.”
“The addition of the Seattle Weekly to Sound’s print and digital portfolio is very exciting,” said Josh O’Connor, VP of East Sound Newspaper Operations. “The Weekly opens up many possibilities for readers, advertisers and the communities that we serve. We appreciate the editorial focus on local news, culture and the arts. This publication has been a leader in shaping Seattle for many decades and we look forward to managing this business in the future.”
The purchase of the Seattle Weekly came in tandem with a separate purchase of the SF Weekly by the San Francisco Examiner which is owned primarily by David Black, Chairman of Black Press and other Black Press executives. Black Press is the parent company of Sound Publishing. Black Press operates more than 170 newspapers in western Canada and Washington in addition to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal.
The Seattle Weekly and the San Francisco Weekly will be operated independently of one another.
The Seattle Weekly is known for political and governmental reporting as well as music and arts coverage. It publishes a number of special issues throughout the year on topics such as a spring and fall arts guide, dining guide, special coverage of the Seattle Independent Film Festival and Bumbershoot.
Sound Publishing has executive offices in Bellevue and Poulsbo. The Seattle Weekly will remain based in Seattle.
HorsesAss.org, a blog covering politics and media in Washington State, gave lukewarm support to the deal, although comments on the post are decidedly negative.
So it’s for the good that they were just bought by Sound Publishing. Here’s hoping it’ll get more of its local flavor back, and that there’s a business model that makes sense. The Weekly still has a constituency, even though I don’t read it. More newspapers is generally better for Seattle.
And the Seattle Times looked into Seattle Weekly’s readership numbers, along with those of rival “alternative” weekly, The Stranger.
Just how young, urban and hip are alt weekly readers?
As for being young — well, if 40 is the new 20, then yes, they’re young. Alt weekly readers in Seattle might be young at heart, but they’re definitely starting to gray at the temples. While The Stranger’s readers are a little younger than the Weekly’s, both papers’ readership averages well into their 40s.
More of their readers are suburban than you might expect. For the Weekly, it’s actually the majority — only about 43 percent of Weekly readers are Seattle residents. The Stranger has a significantly more urban readership, but it’s still pretty closely split — about 45 percent are in the ‘burbs.