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Fairfax Braces for Major Attack

13 Apr 2010

Fairfax looks set to lose millions of dollars of real estate advertising revenue with the launch of a new Melbourne magazine from the former marketing chief of The Age.

Anthony Catalano, who was made redundant by Fairfax in 2008 after 18 years at The Age, is setting up the new magazine in partnership with 25 of Melbourne's leading real estate agents, including Jellis Craig, Hocking Stuart and Noel Jones, as reported in B&T Today.


The as-yet unnamed magazine, which is set to launch mid-year, will be run by the newly-established Metro Media Publishing. Catalano will be the managing director and publisher.


The high-end title is expected to dent the income of Fairfax's suburban newspapers and its The Melbourne Weekly Magazine, which derive significant revenue from the real estate market.


In his first interview about the magazine, Catalano told B&T Today: "The agents have issues, regardless of the publisher, about a monopoly.


"It means that costs continually go up and there isn't any competition in the marketplace. When I came along and said ‘here's the model for you' they were attracted by the idea that they would have input into the product."


Catalano said the magazine will be a "couple of hundred" pages per edition, with 50 pages of editorial, including celebrity profiles and restaurant reviews, and an accompanying website. It will eventually have a circulation of more than 300,000."


"We are deliberately and unashamedly going to people who are by definition ABs - highly educated, high disposable income who expect quality in everything they do.


Catalano aims to hire more than 40 staff for his company, which he started work on as soon as his six-month Fairfax non-compete clause expired. He said that 80 per cent of his existing staff are former Fairfax staffers, although Trent Casson, the sales and marketing director, previously worked at Austereo.


Ben Willee, MD of Ikon Melbourne, who worked on the Fairfax business while at Initiative, said: "Real estate is a huge market for Fairfax and they will undoubtedly be nervous. Catalano was a star for The Age. He made them a lot of money.



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