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Domain hints at content ambitions beyond property as it pushes ahead with Fairfax separation

Fairfax’s real estate listings site and content portal has flagged its expanding editorial ambitions as it launches new verticals and looks forward to its separation from Fairfax on the ASX.

Speaking to agency partners, CEO Antony Catalano said Domain was now a serious media business in its own right, and one of the strongest brands in the country – which will only continue to grow once it becomes a unique entity.

“About three-and-a-half years ago we were basically a real estate portal and a very distant number two in that space. Fairfax invested very heavily in this business …. [which allowed us to] go down the path of expanding into a whole bunch of categories within the real estate space,” he said.

Antony Catalano: “This is a serious digital business”

“[Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood] wanted this category to be more than a real estate category. He wanted it to be a lifestyle brand and to associate with all of the transactions that occur in the real estate space.”

Perhaps further hinting at Domain’s growing content and editorial ambitions, Johnny Styles, strategic director at Domain Media said the company “is relevant for so much more than finance”, with consumers using the platform to “redesign their lives and buy a lifestyle”.

“Travel, auto, retail, entertainment are all high on the list of people who are looking to buy a home. And we have deep category understanding and a deep sense of where and when to engage with an audience,” he said.

“We know that to get it right in the content space, it’s more than just putting content out. You need to have the right structural set up in place to be able to do that. We have our marketing and editorial teams working within the same group to get a very good sense of exactly what people want. So as a media sales team, we needed to create a bridge between that collective intelligence and understanding, and we’ve done so with our content and our social team, who are able to take that market knowledge, marry it with client needs and deliver engaging and meaningful content.”

Domain also announced its new content verticals, which will go live on 16 October. The content will categorised as: news, advice, living, and money and markets.

Katie Harper launching Domain’s new verticals

Katie Harper, content and brand partnerships manager, said property news continues to be at the core of what Domain’s editorial team delivers, but this would expand.

“We understand there is an appetite for local news stories, so we will be creating state-based categories for people to find local stories easier on our site. We’ll be collating all of our national auction coverage into one space to make it easier for property seekers to follow the market and we’ll be creating a go-to online destination to complement the refresh of Domain Prestige magazine.,” she said.

The advice vertical will help Australians navigate the biggest property decisions they will ever make, she said.

The living vertical will tell people’s stories and examine the diverse ways in which Australians live, according to Harper, while money and markets significantly expands Domain’s remit.

“The property market is just one market that determines the wealth and wellbeing of Australians and our money and makrets cateogy will explore in an informative and entertaining way the other markets such as banking and finance, prsonal finance and consumer affairs,” she revealed, noting Chris Kohler’s appointment which she said was already paying off.

Styles also highlighted Domain’s reinvestment in print, as other publishers scale back their operations.

Domain believes there is still a large appetite for print

“We are contrarians. We reinvested in print when everybody else was pulling back. We saw a need to redesign and update the cotnent to reflect the lifestyle needs of our audience… In a declining market we’re really proud to be a contrarian – because we;ve always been sure that a quality product which is designed for the time will always succeed.”

NSW agency sales director Ashley Minchin also noted the brand’s content evolution, saying a large part of Domain’s overall success was down to the execution of its content strategy.

“We’ve evolved from what was just a classified business to now a data and a content business where we’re trading in ideas,” he said.

Catalono confiemd Domain will list on the ASX from mid-November, which he said was the result of years of planning and investment.

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