Metro Media Publishing – established by The Age’s former property editor Antony Catalano – publishes The Weekly Review, a free weekly magazine reaching more than 200,000 people in some of Melbourne’s most affluent suburbs.
Fairfax paid $35 million for a half-share of Metro Media Publishing back in December after The Weekly Review went head to head with Fairfax Community Newspapers’ suburban weeklies.
Following the transaction’s completion this month, Metro Media Publishing is about to launch a property website, reviewproperty.com.au, which is intended to cover all of Australia.
Fairfax is not involved with reviewproperty.com.au however, it will link to its Domain website, despite the potential of the new site cannibalising revenues.
A representative from Metro Media Publishing stated that there is a relationship with Domain but the new website is also its own product, launching next week with 400,000 national listings. The company is intending to use the website as a step towards rolling out its joint-venture model into NSW and the ACT.
Catalano has taken executive control of real estate advertising revenues for The Age and Domain. The commission Metro Media Publishing earned from The Age and Domain was not on the same 50-50 basis as the Metro Media Publishing Victoria deal, and did not rule out partnering with Fairfax on its real estate offerings in other states.
If Fairfax partners with Metro Media Publishing in other markets it will apply further pressure on its slice of the $1 billion real estate market, if it continues to migrate valuable advertising revenues from its titles to the joint venture. Fairfax is estimated to hold about $150m-$200m of the total online and offline market.
Mr Catalano’s business model gives equity to real estate agents. Before the Fairfax deal, a major publisher had never entered into an equity partnership with real estate agents.