The fascinating voyeurism of the Trojan War took yet another twist when Sensis, delivered its Media Release “Sensis launches Just Listed magazine”. With Fairfax Publications Pty Limited fast becoming the centre of attention with its highly successful launch of Domain East, Sensis have quickly followed suit. “The first edition of the Just Listed magazine will hit the streets on Thursday 14 October and is Sensis’ unique solution to unprecedented demand from agents and house hunters. The launch comes just two years after the release of the complimentary web site, . As an indication of market demand, the online site has managed to attract 80 per cent of Sydney’s agents and more than 100,000 unique users in September with minimal supporting advertising”. Anyone doubting the strong resolve of Just Listed should think again. They are now serious players in this Trojan War. “So powerful is this proposition that the Just Listed team signed up 500 agents to the new print publication in the last few weeks alone, further complementing the 1,700 agents on the web site”.

In yet another possible twist, ACP seem to have taken a sudden interest in ‘Virtual Realty News’. You see, registrations leave finger prints, and the on the registration forms reveals all. Could it possibly be that Kerry Packer is putting the gloves on too, with a view to launching his highly successful New Zealand operation Property Pictorials Magazine !! If so, will this mean another property portal, taking the number to four, or will he launch through his partnership vessel Ninemsn ? The only problem with that, is that News Limited is the majority shareholder of which operates out of Ninemsn. The plot thickens !! Should it decide to enter the fray, it too will have to value its property portal at zero.

There is no doubting that Fairfax Publications Pty Limited is well out in front of the other contenders in the Trojan War, however I am mystified by one single point. Domain East, has become the talk of the town following its successful launch, yet in the two editions released thus far, fails to crack hardly a mention anywhere !! Interesting that it is packaged in the launch, yet Fairfax (strangely) doesn’t want to heavily promote its new-look website in Domain East. Must be a lover’s tiff !!. The latest figures have identified that more than half of Australian homes are now connected to the Internet and now identifies its online business as a major attraction to online consumers. The Bureau of Statistics has just reported that 53 per cent of households now have Internet access. This is up from 46 per cent in 2002, which is yet another clue as to why Sensis valued the Just Listed property portal at zero to the agents.

If you think that Fairfax Publications Pty Limited, is not looking at a Domain North, you probably also think that the Democrats will win the Federal Election tomorrow. Cumberland Newspaper Group, now faces a major uphill battle to win the support of the agents as I pointed out to the Manager of The Mosman Daily, in a one-on-one meeting this week. The Mosman Daily has had a ‘sweetheart’ arrangement with two other major franchises (despite our objections which continually fell on deaf ears) whereby they rotate them to appear first in The Mosman Daily each week. We understand now that an announcement is pending !! With our average advertising campaigns coming in at $10,000.00, Cumberland is the benefactor, pocketing $7,500.00 of these monies. So you don’t think that Fairfax and Sensis, are not eyeing those “rivers of gold”? Of course they are! This is what the Trojan War is all about !! The only way Cumberland can survive, is to cut the cost of a whole page by half, which means a whole page will go from $2,390.00 to $1,195.00. “Kill the chicken to scare the monkey”. Sun Tsu….The Art of War.

The real estate market was smiling this week when our ‘Governor of Moolah’ decided to leave the interest rates steady at 5.25 per cent. It now appears to be highly unlikely that they will move either way until next year at the very earliest. This now gives Sydney property a green light, with the school holidays finishing this weekend. For the first time this year, the property market can really move up a few gears. The confidence is creeping back and a recent ASX Investment Performance Report by Towers Perrin has confirmed that, “for the first time in more than a decade, residential investment property has outperformed listed investments over the previous ten years”. This was released in June and it went on to say “The results of the latest survey, released by ASX today, revealed that residential investment property provided after-tax returns of between 11.4% and 9.3% per annuum (depending on income bracket); while Australian shares returned between 8.1% and 6.1% per annum over the same period. This is the first time property returns have been higher than shares since the survey was first commenced 12 years ago”.

This war is riveting stuff !! Fairfax has brilliantly launched, Sensis launches next week, Australian Consolidated Press is lurking in the shadows, and News Limited has not said boo !! Could it be that it doesn’t have the newspaper classified representation in real estate, that Fairfax dominates ? Or, maybe just maybe, it has “been caught with its pants down”. Fpccourier, appears to be in denial with its Wentworth Courier and Sydney Weekly Courier. I guess the fact that its figures no longer stack-up, would be of serious concern. Oh well, as we said before, ‘welcome to the brave new world’ !! Cheers and clink !! ^__^

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