Magazine Publisher Buys Majority Interest in Boston’s Weekly Dig

October 21, 2004

The publisher of Boston magazine has purchased a majority ownership of Boston’s Weekly Dig, the region’s fastest-growing alternative weekly newspaper.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

“We are thrilled with this new alliance,” said David H. Lipson, president of Boston magazine parent Metrocorp. “Boston’s Weekly Dig resonates strongly with young Bostonians. With its edgy mix of music, arts, politics and satire, it is a compelling and unique voice in this market. With this purchase, Metrocorp and the Dig have a great opportunity to amplify that voice.”

He said Metrocorp “will enhance, not change, this publication. We are making this investment because we believe in the power, the influence and the potential of the Dig’s readership.”

Lipson added: “There are a lot of things we love about this paper. Our plan is to grow the Dig by strengthening its sales and marketing, improving the graphic design and production quality, enhancing its arts and entertainment coverage, and increasing circulation significantly.”

Boston Weekly Dig founder and publisher Jeff Lawrence called the agreement “a huge opportunity for the Dig. We’ve spent a great deal of time searching for the right partner to help us succeed at a higher level, and Metrocorp exceeds all of our expectations. This deal will allow us to team up with a first-rate Boston publisher to dramatically enhance our ability to serve our readers and advertisers.”

Lawrence said the alliance will provide the resources needed for the paper to grow while remaining connected to the local scene and young adult market. “We will still be fresh, funny, brutally honest and written for intelligent readers,” he said. “We will still be an exciting, youthful read — I promise. We will remain independent and true to our readers.”

The five-year-old Dig has seen rapid growth, especially among 18- to 34-year-old readers. Over a recent six-month period, readership grew by more than 40 percent, faster than any other alternative or entertainment publication in the market, according to Media Audit.

Joe Keohane will remain as editor and the staff will be expanded to handle additional editorial and advertising content planned for the paper. Keohane said the Dig will continue to be a “blend of unflinching candor, humor and local expertise. Plus we get to pay our writers in something other than free beer and flattery.”

The Dig’s relationship with Boston magazine and Metrocorp’s portfolio of other Boston and New England publications, will give advertisers a full spectrum of advertising options. In addition to Boston magazine, Metrocorp publishes four other titles that serve the Boston market: Elegant Weddings, Concierge, Home & Garden, and New England Travel and Life.

Metrocorp has operated Boston magazine since 1971, building it into one of the most successful and fast-growing magazines in the United States. It has been named among the top three city and regional magazines in America for seven of the last eight years by the City and Regional Magazine Association.

Metrocorp also owns Philadelphia Magazine which it has operated since 1946.