Australia's biggest regional news publisher, ACM, rolls out a new brand for its property sections from today, after linking with the property listing portal realestateview.com.au, as part of a $100million joint venture.
ACM, publisher of this website, will have a majority shareholding in the new enterprise.
As a result of the joint venture, realestateview.com.au will replace the Domain brand across ACM's national network of more than 130 regional and Sydney suburban websites and newspapers, including 13 dailies in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.
The Canberra Times, another ACM title, will retain its relationship with Allhomes, while ACM's agricultural mastheads will incorporate property into their existing AgTrader brand.
ACM and realestateview.com.au will collectively invest about $100million over five years to build a market-leading, multi-faceted property media and data business.
For ACM's executive chairman Antony Catalano, the new venture is a key piece of the publishing and property strategy he has been developing since buying ACM last year with Thorney Investment Group's Alex Waislitz.
"With majority ownership we can now look to fast-track the realestateview.com.au business by enabling it through all parts of the ACM business, including editorial, marketing and of course a combined national sales force that will sell our integrated property marketing solution," he said.
"We've proven through our regional pilots that by combining ACM's publishing assets with the Today Acquire digital marketing tool and a listing on realestateview.com.au, we are able to reach buyers more effectively at all stages along the path to purchase and then nurture those leads through to agents and vendors.
"When Alex Waislitz and I bought ACM, we came with a commitment to invest and grow. COVID hasn't made things easy but we've worked hard with the executive team and we're now seeing the plan come together as we look to evolve into a digitally led media business with many strings to our bow.
"Our push more aggressively into the property space and in particular into digital solutions provides a broader and more sustainable revenue base, which will enable us to continue to grow and invest in not only the communities we operate in, but we'll be doing our bit to keep journalism funded and alive in Australia," Mr Catalano said.
Established in 2001 and now offering a suite of marketing options for real estate buyers and sellers, realestateview.com.au is one of the country's most visited real estate portals, with a monthly audience of 1.5 million.
The business has gone through a period of significant change over the past two years under the leadership of chief executive officer Toby Balazs. The former REA executive has looked to rejuvenate realestateview.com.au and set it up for future growth.
With a new executive team, Mr Balazs has led a successful capital raise, a migration to a completely new technology platform, partnerships with businesses like ACM and Apartment Developments, as well as a content deal with Core Logic to power the hugely successful Price Estimator tool.
Response has come in the form of audience growth of more than 40 per cent year-on-year pre COVID-19.
The joint venture with ACM is another boost, Mr Balazs said.
"To have the strength of the ACM business now behind us and to have our brand featured strong and bold across the country, we now have the platform to grow the business, build audiences and most importantly deliver results for our agent partners and vendors alike.
"With a 20-year history and industry support, we are the trusted source for property and we look forward to sharing this with the rest of the country," he said.
As part of the initial integration, Paul Tyrrell will be chief marketing officer for both ACM and realestateview.com.au.
"It's exciting to bring these two businesses together from a brand and marketing perspective," Mr Tyrrell said. "We know from experience that combining publishing assets with a real estate portal provides a platform for significant growth in audiences and, importantly, more sales leads for our real estate partners.
"It's now on the ACM and REV marketing teams to work collaboratively to drive awareness and penetration of the REV brand across the country."