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REA Group announce increase in revenue and growth

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The REA today released a massive increase in revenue (50%) and 68% EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation) for the 6 months ending 31st December 2007.

Today REA operates in 12 countries and controls 18 real estate websites, 8 print publications and a variety of other software tools. Here is a snapshot of their Australian results.

  • Australian revenues were up 39% to $54.9 million.
  • Subscribing Australian agents increased to 8,824 as at 31 December 2007,representing about 95% of Australian agents.
  • Average revenue per agent increased to $758 in December.

What does all of this mean? Well, they are doing very nicely indeed, and they do not seem to be slowing in growth, there are still quite a few international markets they can jump into (outside US) and they can also do better (coming in second in a few) in some of the current markets they are in.

I think Australian revenues will slow and this year will be the start of some other players entering into the Australian market. Domain and MyHome can only be envious of their position but Domain is making reasonable growth and this should increase this year as their acquisitions settle down.

I really don’t know how much more they can charge real estate agents, but they can certainly go further as it seems by these figures agents are willing to keep paying increases in fees without any real revolt.

Maybe it is time for some of the other players to merge, I have heard some whispers about Myhome and Homehound (homehound is worth a second look) coming together and also heard of some major international players eyeing off Australia.

Anyway, tell us what you think. You can download the media release here ( released today to ASX)

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10 Comments

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted February 25, 2008 at 3:15 pm 0Likes

    Peter…

    Nice for the shareholders..

    As to squeezing more out of agents.. Where there is a will there is a way.. Last year our rep wanted us to look at “Brochure All” at $77 per listing. Since we do around 500 listings per year that was going to cost nearly $40,000 I asked her how could I justify that sort of investment. Her response was we would sell more homes and it was…….. wait for it….. a branding exercise.. !!! Obviously there are offices out there that do take these sort of options up… I just wonder how these sort of products work for them.

    Hope you get a big pay rise with these new figures Dave.. 🙂

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted February 25, 2008 at 4:42 pm 0Likes

    For those that don’t read the REA CEO blog… its well worth just checking out this one post from the other day.

    http://blogs.realestate.com.au/ceocorner/2008/02/what_were_they_thinking.html

    What were they thinking!!!

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted February 25, 2008 at 4:53 pm 0Likes

    Yeah I got this last week, it is a beauty! For $170 odd per month REA could send 500,000 listings to myhome, charge all agents $40 a month for the feed and increase revenues again. Then again, why would they!

  • snoop
    Posted March 2, 2008 at 9:47 am 0Likes

    Any agent paying a fee to upload to other portals is mad.
    They are being ripped off

  • PaulD
    Posted March 5, 2008 at 7:17 pm 0Likes

    More & More Numbers ??
    So the eternal contest for bigger and bigger numbers and higher and higher percentage increases continues. OK, so will someone please tell me what statistical relevance does comparing a single month from last year with the corresponding month this year have?
    We all know (or should know) that if you have a smaller number then percentage increases are going to look better, and if you have a bigger number, your percentage increase will not look as good, so you compare your number with your competitor. I have another question. Will someone please define EXACTLY what a unique browser is, and what it excludes ?

    If the number of unique browsers Australia wide is 4 mill. per month as REA indicates, and the population of Aus. is 21 million it raises some questions.

    If we decuct everyone younger than 14 and over 65, That’s approx 6.5mill, and people who can’t speak English, or have no internet access, there’s about another 1.2 mill there. That leaves about 5.3 mill left. Does that mean that 75% of them look at a properties on realestate.com.au EVERY month? Obviously the answer is no. So why are they called Property Seekers? There are obviously not 4 million unique property seekers looking at real estate every month. That is a meaningless number. It’s like saying 200,000 vehicles a day cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Certainly that happens, but what about the busses and taxis, and private vehicles that travel both ways – several times a day? They don’t say 200,000 unique vehicles cross the Bridge every day. My point is, that subject to the definition of a unique browser, 4 million visits to properties on realestate.com.au may well happen, but they cannot be called Property Seekers, because they are not separate individuals. I don’t have a preferred method of recording property visits, but it needs to be more realistic than it is at present.
    Perhaps “a property view” is the method. That way, there is only one statistic, and it can’t be challenged. A Property View, meaning the person has to open the property to look at it. That may be a high number as well, but there are no misunderstandings as to people, ot unique browsers or any other statistic other than the number of times a property is looked at.
    That is the unique advantage the internet has over the newspaper. The newspapers quote circulation, and then move on to “readership”, which is also a statistic based on assumptions that may or may not be right. The internet can tell exactly how many people look at a property – a newspaper can’t. Incidentally, I subscribe to both Realestate.com.au and Domain.com.au so I’m not having at go at either one.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted March 5, 2008 at 8:08 pm 0Likes

    Paul,

    Unique browsers are essentially the same as your unique vehicle example. Think of visitors as drivers and browsers as cars. Browsers are tracked by browser cookies.. in your bridge example think of it as your rego number is recorded…

    It is important to understand that they try and count unique browsers/cars and not unique visitors/drivers. If you cross the bridge in your work car and your home car they have no way of knowing it is you behind the wheel.. so in this case you are counted twice. This is the same if you browse their site from your home computer and your work computer.

    This all sounds fine but many people delete cookies on their computer. This is like getting a new rego number after each trip for you car so nobody knows where you have been before.

    With cookies deleted Neilsens will count them as a new unique browser. Neilsen’s own user survey found that 44% of users regularly delete their cookies. These are massive numbers and so whilst you can use the figures to compare against each other you cannot use them to compare against the population figures for example as the same people are being counted multiple times.

    At the end of the day they both companies will always focus in on any stat that make them look good and use that in their marketing. And people get paid damn good money to do exactly that!!

    Another thing to consider is that recently Dave made a claim that 2 out of every 3 minutes spent looking at real estate on the net in Australia is done on REA. Turns out that his figures only allowed for the small handful of sites that pay Neilsens to track their data. It did not include the 10,000 or so agent sites or other portals and websites. By my quick and rough calculations REA is probably more responsible for 2 min out of every 8 or 10 minutes. Not quite so impressive is it? Statistics can become impressive depending upon the perspective they are viewed in.

    The statistics war between the portals has been the subject of much discussion on here. Do a search for “unique browsers” on here and you will find a few matching threads.

  • PaulD
    Posted March 6, 2008 at 10:24 am 0Likes

    Thanks Glenn,
    So what you are basically saying is there is absolutely no statistical relevance to browser numbers, due to the variables of people using different computers, deleting cookies etc. I thought that may be the case. Surely there can be some standard for measurement that people agree on and is both realistic and not subject to challenge.
    And if they can send a spacecraft to Mars, you wouldn’t think it would be too great a task to acurately measure visitors to an internet site.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted March 6, 2008 at 11:26 am 0Likes

    You can still fairly reliably use it to compare sites to other sites but just using one point of measure will never give you a true picture…. If a internet user deletes his cookies everyday then it affects all of the sites he visits.

    You definetly cant reliably say that 1 unique browser is the same as 1 property seeker which is how REA spins it. That is blatantly misleading and I am amazed that they have not been directed to stop using that.

    Internet statistics use to count hits, then pageviews, then visitors and unique visitors. A lot of importance is also placed on session times. One of the new portals is still pushing hits just so he gets a big number to compare to the big numbers of other portals. No single stat or metric will give you the total answer. You need to look at them all as a whole.. and over time to show trends but they will not give you all the stats.

    Put simply they do not get 4 million PEOPLE in Australia looking at their sites.. let alone 4 million property seekers.

  • PaulD
    Posted March 7, 2008 at 1:28 pm 0Likes

    More Useless Statistics:

    I suppose all you subscribers to Domain got the email saying that they had a 63.7% growth in email enquiries. I commented recently saying that comparing two months in consecutive years is a statistical nonsense, and I don’t want to labour the point, however this one takes the cake. I thought I would carry out the same exercise in my office and then compare it to an annual total.
    My office emails from Domain in November last year against November the year before were up by 96% – yes 96%. This is a truly impressive statistic. The problem with that statistic is that year on year ie. 2006 – 2007 the email totals from Domain dropped by 8.8%.

    The moral of the story is that when you want to put out REALLY good statistics, find a month that has sensational increases and act as though it is the year on year numbers – but don’t actually say that it represents the full year. November must have been a great month for Domain because they trotted out the increase in Unique browsers a couple of days ago based on November last year. Surprise, surprise – an increase in browser numbers is also accompanied by an increase in email enquiry. I suppose evermore obscure statistics will need to be invented so that the people at the coal face cannot check them and challenge them.

  • Nick
    Posted March 8, 2008 at 7:26 am 0Likes

    yeah statistics are bullshite… I’ve always said people should trust their guts when it comes to advertising… you know whats going to work and what isn’t – you don’t need a pie-chart or a pHD in discreet mathmatics.

    Our MR portal realistically gets about 4000 unique visits per month compared to RealCommercial’s trillion-million whateveritgets – yet the brokers who list with us get a consistently 100% – 200%+ better response rate. Specialized content / targeted audience are clearly more valuable than random graphs. Every time I get an REA vs Domain e-newsletter touting the latest graphs I always wonder which one actually gets the most responders for their advertisers: Ultimately, that

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