The Los Angeles Times recently announced that they will no longer be publishing a real estate section in their Sunday edition. Is this the start of more real estate sections being shut down, or a unique case?
At the moment real estate advertising is a profitable little business for local newspapers. Brisbane’s Courier-Mail charges a lot of money for their ads, and they produce a pretty substantial real estate section each week. However, there is also an association between The Courier-Mail and Australia’s largest real estate portal, realestate.com.au, so a transition from one part of the company to another isn’t too hard. The situation is the same for Melbourne’s Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, which are tied in with domain.com.au. Have the newspaper people seen the writing on the wall for a while, and have simply been preparing the handing over of newspaper advertising to the online world? Perhaps.
In my view, online advertising offers so much more to the agent and the seller. For starters, what you get for your money when advertising in the paper is not a whole lot. One ad can cost upwards of $4000. You put even 50% of that sort of money into online marketing, and you’ve got yourself some pretty special stuff. However, at least with the newspapers you get a guaranteed readership across all demographics … at least those that are prepared to buy a paper each Saturday. Within the younger age brackets, this is shrinking. I get all of my news from newspaper sites on the net, and I’m a relatively old 30-something. Generation X and Y hardly know what to do with a newspaper – for them, everything they need is on the net, including real estate.
So the day will come when real estate advertising ceases to be present in newspapers. That day might be 5 years away, but I can’t see it lasting for too long. My local paper has an advertisement in it within the real estate section, promoting the use of newspaper advertising above the internet –
“I can’t take the internet house hunting with me. But this portable version is great.”
Well, now you can take the net with you. I present Exhibit A – the iPhone. Full internet access anywhere, anytime.
The Real Estate Newspaper Advertising Farewell Tour. Get your tickets fast.