AgTrader, Australian farmers' favourite online marketplace, is expanding its portfolio to include rural properties, businesses and clearing sales.
Launched in the 1990s as a forum for farmers to trade agricultural items such as tractors, farm vehicles and livestock, AgTrader also serves as a platform for machinery dealers, agents and auction houses.
Now, the site has added a Property section for rural real estate, where buyers, sellers and property agents can come together in a one-stop shop. It will replace the Domain Rural brand across The Land, Queensland Country Life, the North Queensland Register, Stock & Land, Stock Journal, Farm Weekly and farmonline.com.au.
"We know our agricultural publications and websites have unrivalled reach to farmers across Australia," ACM's agriculture commercial director Craig Chapman said.
"Ninety-six per cent of visitors to AgTrader are farmers, so adding property will provide the perfect platform for sellers and agents to increase their exposure to the people most likely to be interested in buying."
The switch is part of a larger move on the part of ACM, publisher of this masthead, to enter a joint venture with property listing portal realestateview.com.au. ACM will have a majority shareholding in the new joint venture.
Across ACM's network of more than 130 regional and suburban websites and newspapers, realestateview.com.au will replace the Domain brand. In Canberra, where ACM publishes The Canberra Times, the relationship with Allhomes will continue.
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 property joint 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.
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"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.
Success 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."