Fairfax wants to merge with Rural Press. Does anyone else feel that the upcoming media ownership laws are just going to make the strong – stronger? All the jockeying to date seems to indicate this. In my humble opinion the last thing I would like to buy at a premium would be a newspaper group.
I have not heard of any new companies entering markets, it just seems to me that it is a win win for everyone except consumers – we will just have to wait and see what happens after at least 12 months into the new laws.
Rural Press also own a real estate portal propertyguide, even though it looks great it lacks content in so many areas (many listings have no photos or just on). Only recently have they actually created a system for agents to manage their listings, whereas in the past they just posted up any advertising from their papers.
If Fairfax buys Rural Press it will give them a great deal of presence in the rural areas and probably have a real effect on realestate.com.au as rural press operates many newspapers in areas where they have no competition. This basically means that a Fairfax named group could in effect advertise their products (Domain) in the newspapers much like realestate.com.au do in News Ltd papers.
Tasmania will be a great example as both major newspapers (and really the only ones) in the north of the State are Rural Press owned.
I think the ACCC may block this or at least make the newspapers make a few concessions as they do operate a couple of newspapers in the same area.
So much for diversity!