Antony Catalano purchases stake in ‘Domain’s biggest client’ Tomorrow/ Media Plus

Former Domain CEO Antony Catalano has made his next media and real estate move, purchasing a stake in Tomorrow Agency/ Media Plus – a creative and media agency for property businesses, which describes itself as “Domain’s largest client”.

Catalano will become an executive director of the business from July 1. The role, a spokesperson said, is an “active” one “but not a 40 hour a week one” and will include business development, strategy, client handling, relationship building and national expansion.

Catalano credits Tomorrow with helping Domain to grow

After the turmoil surrounding his exit from Domain, there has been speculation about Catalano’s next move, with some sources suggesting he may come after Fairfax by setting up another publishing and listings rival to diminish its market share.

Instead, for now, Catalano will work alongside Tomorrow directors Anthony Bray, Ian Hickey and Lars Weisenberger who offer property developers and real estate project marketers creative and media services.

Catalano said he was excited to be joining the business which he credits with helping Domain’s growth.

“I am honoured and excited to be joining my friends Ian, Ant and Lars at Tomorrow, an agency which has always had a very special place in my heart,” he said.

“Tomorrow helped Domain grow into an amazing business, and joining the partnership here feels like coming home. Ian, Ant and Lars have built an incredible team of people who really are leaders in their field. I am excited about playing a role in the further development of the agency to see where we can go next.”

The relationship between Tomorrow and Domain will continue, something Catalano said he is looking forward to.

“Imporrtantly, I hope to be able to add value for Tomorrow’s loyal and highly-successful stable of clients, many of whom have been with tomorrow for decades. Property is in my blood and I love nothing better than helping developers, marketers and agents grow value in their businesses. It’s a passion that Ian, Ant, Lars and I share.

“I am also looking forward to continuing my involvement with Domain via this role as its largest client.”

A Domain spokesperson echoed Catalano’s sentiment, telling Mumbrella: “We look forward to continuing to do great business with Tomorrow.”


Catalano is looking forward to working with Domain

A release from Tomorrow noted the company “plays a key role in advising clients on how to target their advertising spend and maximise sales” with “media buying [becoming] an increasingly important function in property marketing as media [continues] top fragment and audiences [shift] to new platforms”.

Tomorrow’s clients include C-Bus Property, AV Jennings, Colliers International, Knight Frank and Frasers Property.

Tomorrow also offers creative services via a branding and design studio, headed by creative director Weisenberger.

It employs 32 people across Melbourne and Brisbane, and has plans for national expansion under Catalano’s guidance.

The agency directors issued a collective statement, saying: “As an agency, Tomorrow has been going from strength to strength in recent years. Adding a business brain the calibre of Antony to this already thriving environment is a proposition that has us all really excited. We can’t wait to see what his ideas and experience do to further enhance our growth.”

Catalano is well-known to real estate agents and media owners, having been property editor and marketing director of The Age.

When he was made redundant from parent company Fairfax, Catalao launched The Weekly Review, a direct rival of his former employer’s The Melbourne Weekly.

Within two years, Fairfax had bought into the Catalano-led Metro Media Publishing. The deal valued Catalano’s business well in excess of $120m and saw the assets of Fairfax Community Newspapers merged into Metro Media Publishing. Fairfax also handed over $35m and took a 50% stake in the business.

A selection of the Tomorrow Agency’s clients

Two years later, in 2013, Fairfax appointed Catalano CEO of Domain, which was then described as its real estate classifieds business.

Under his stewardship, Domain increased its content output and expanded its revenue streams. The business also spun out of Fairfax to become a Fairfax-controlled ASX-listed entity.

Domain’s first day on the ASX as a standalone entity valued the venture at slightly over $2bn, with trading closing at $3.90 a share. By comparison, Fairfax closed trading at 74c on the same day.

Yesterday, Domain closed trading at $3.29, while Fairfax finished on 72c.

Just two months after the separation, however, Catalano abruptly resigned from Domain, citing family reasons. Catalano said the demands of being the CEO of a listed company were not compatible with a commitment he had made to his family.

But it wasn’t long before Fairfax’s own papers were printing accusations that Catalano oversaw a boys’ club workplace which included a sexist and disrespectful attitude towards women and cocaine use by staff at parties.

Domain then released its first financial results to the ASX – reporting revenue of $112.7m and a net loss after tax of $3.4m – and claimed Catalano’s exit would have “no impact whatsoever going forward”.

Domain remains without a CEO as the recruitment process continues. Nick Falloon is fulfilling the duties in his role as executive chairman.


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