Media Central to buy Vancouver's Georgia Straight alternative weekly for $1.25M

TORONTO — Media Central Corp. Inc. says it will buy Vancouver's Georgia Straight alternative weekly newspaper and associated publications in a deal valued at $1.25 million, including cash and shares.

It's the second recent acquisition for Media Central, which said last month it would pay up to $2 million to buy Toronto alternative weekly Now Magazine.

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Georgia Straight founder Dan McLeod says he saw potential in Media Central's plans for Now, announced Dec. 2. His son, general manager Matt McLeod, negotiated the deal.

In addition to the Georgia Straight, Media Central will acquire straight.com and straightcannabis.ca. Its other publications include the cannabis-focused online site CannCentral as well as Now Magazine and nowtoronto.com

Media Central chief executive Brian Kalish says there's an opportunity to tap into a stable readership developed over the years by alternative weeklies across North America.

Georgia Straight has an estimated 2.7 million readers per month through its print edition and an additional 1.8 million through its website.

"The Straight is a highly trusted Vancouver institution," Kalish said in a statement.

"The Georgia Straight brings more than 50 years of respected, award-winning local journalism and an influential loyal audience of 4.5 million monthly readers to the Media Central family."

However, Dan McLeod acknowledged in an interview that weeklies have been hit by the same decline in advertising that has affected most other print publications since the rise in digital alternatives.

"But I think that Media Central has a plan to move forward. They're going to buy up a lot of alternative papers and they have some innovative ideas. So I think they have a good chance to make a go of it."

McLeod says he's semi-retired, but will remain available in an advisory capacity. He expects Media Central will retain the company's other staff to run the Vancouver operation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 6, 2020.

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