My take on Tribune Media’s buyout of ForSaleByOwner.com – this is a desperate yet essential bid to shore up their revenue streams in the face of the Internet threat. It’s going to have big impact throughout the industry however.

header_on_01.jpg

To understand their motivations, you only have to look at how the Internet impacted another side of their business – how craigslist decimated their classifieds and employment advertising. In a 2004 report titled Competing With Craig, it was estimated that craigslist cost Bay Area newspaper publications between $50 and $65 million in annual revenue alone.

Or as Phil Meyer put it (Knight Chair in Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) in a 2005 speech:

[Newspapers] don’t have a monopoly… they don’t have a monopoly on classified advertising, and there’s lots of other stuff they no longer have a monopoly on. They have a monopoly on being newspapers. But that’s not the point. The point is that the services they provide are being provided cheaper and more efficiently…by somebody else.

Newspapers sense there’s a seismic shift underway in real estate marketing as well. Many brokers are starting to realign their advertising dollars onto the Web because ultimately, just like Prof. Meyer said, many of the online real estate sites are cheaper and more efficient.

So who going to be the craigslist of real estate? There’s no clear winner right now, but there are certainly a lot of contenders.

And just like the diminished classified sections in today’s papers, the days of full page real estate spreads in the Sunday Homes section are probably numbered too.

The bottom line is the Internet has created a much effective platform for house listings, and Realtors are starting to realize this. I believe Tribune presciently saw this coming and were looking for a way to shore up content for their pages.

The real question is how will Realtors in Tribune’s markets (see below) react to this deal in the short term? Why would they continue to support a publisher that, with this deal, has made such a tacit endorsement of an alternative to their very livelihood?

By effectively encouraging home sellers to make an end run around the same Realtors that supported them in the past, are they hastening their own demise?

It’s a risky move but probably inevitable.

Tribune Media’s major markets:

Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles

Chicago Tribune
Chicago

Newsday
Long Island, N.Y.

The Sun
Baltimore

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Orlando Sentinel
Orlando, Fla.

Hartford Courant
Hartford, Conn.

The Morning Call
Allentown, Pa.

Daily Press
Newport News, Va.

The Advocate
Stamford, Conn.

Greenwich Time
Greenwich, Conn.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
How to hire a virtual assistant? Get the scoop!Watch Now×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription