Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This will damage The Age (and Fairfax) far more than subscription cancellations...


Rivals may cut Fairfax Media's ad revenue

• Michael Bodey  The Australian
• April 19, 2010

FAIRFAX Media could lose tens of millions of revenue with the introduction of two major media properties in the southern capital this month.

Today, new radio station MTR 1377, the joint venture between John Singleton's Macquarie Radio Network and Pacific Star Network, launches on the Melbourne radio market, with insiders hopeful it will break even in its first month. And on Wednesday week, former The Age property editor and senior marketing executive Antony Catalano delivers the free newspaper The Weekly Review to 200,000 of the more affluent homes in Melbourne.

The newly formed Metro Media Publishing will launch The Weekly Review on April 28 with the backing of more than 20 leading real estate agents. The mass exodus of major Melbourne real estate agencies, including Hocking Stuart, Bennison Mackinnon, RT Edgar, Jellis Craig, Kay & Burton and Marshall White, has been reported to have taken a $10-$15 million chunk of advertising from Fairfax Media's free Melbourne Weekly Magazine and potentially The Age and website domain.com.au.

Insiders tell Media that figure is more likely to be beyond $20m.

In a letter to a number of real estate agents on Tuesday, and published in Crikey last week, Fairfax's chief executive and publisher of Melbourne Publishing Don Churchill asked whether the agencies had shareholdings or financial interests in the new magazine and whether they would continue to advertise in Fairfax publications.

As if to emphasise his company's blindsiding by Catalano's industry-backed venture, Churchill also asked when the new publication "will first be published", even as the April 28 date was circling within the industry.

"It would be inappropriate at this stage to comment on our direct or commercial dealings with the real estate agents," Mr Churchill told Media. "It is unfortunate one of them has chosen to leak a private letter." He added The Melbourne Weekly would continue to be a strong brand supported by the Fairfax company, The Age and domain.com.au.

He declined to comment on "a competitor that is yet to publish, other than to say Fairfax always takes its competitors seriously".

Fairfax Media's revenue hole on the property front has been exacerbated by a lesser grab of radio ad revenue from its 3AW by new rival MTR1377.

Fairfax Media has also had to undertake a major advertising spend for 3AW, the first promotional campaign in its short ownership history, in anticipation of the rival talk station.

Catalano has already aligned with MTR1377, where he will present a weekly real estate show on Saturday mornings, using access to RP Data's property price database and talking to agents. He will also appear regularly on Steve Vizard's MTR1377 program, as will some other writers from The Weekly Review, including former The Australian journalist Corrie Perkin.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments will be moderated for language and content.
Please use your name/nickname - rather than 'anonymous'.