The CEO of Domain has questioned the agenda of media giant News Corp after it reported that REA had increased its lead over his business on a number of key website traffic measures.
Anthony Catalano said the article, published in The Australian on Friday on the back of "rarely seen Nielsen Market Intelligence statistics”, claimed that Domain is rapidly losing ground to REA, both in audience measures and financial performance.
Mr Catalano strongly rebukes this claim, stating that arguably the most misleading part of the article compares the digital revenue growth of REA Group to the combined print and digital revenue growth of The Domain Group, "implying some vast difference in performance".
"The Domain Group is growing digital revenues at over 30 per cent year on year; over 40 per cent year on year if you could include the effect of the PDS acquisition - higher than REA in its last published results,” he said.
"We continue to see rapid growth in our business. Unlike REA, Domain still has significant upside in growing the volume of agents and listings on its site. REA's only option to continue gouging agents on price," added Mr Catalano
He said News Corp Australia, which owns a 62 per cent stake in REA, “is completely entitled to undertake PR for businesses it has ownership in, but you'd think they would do that through the PR department and not their media journalists. And get the story right".
Mr Catalano said the article quotes data from Nielsen and makes sweeping comparisons about what is happening among consumer audiences in the real estate advertising market.
"It's no surprise that The Australian selectively chose this data. As we know, Nielsen does not cover all technology platforms and therefore it does not capture all audiences in the way that the 'EMMA' (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia) does."
'EMMA' is a cross-platform audience insights survey that was introduced last year.
He said for The Australian to “selectively choose measures like this is akin to someone saying realestate.com.au has more viewers than Domain on VHS when most of our audience has already moved onto DVD and Blu-ray.”
In response to the article also stating that realestate.com.au stole a march on Domain by taking over the distribution deal from Ninemsn, Mr Catalano said Domain chose not to renew the contract with Ninemsn because we believe we can acquire audiences in more cost effective ways themselves.