APN launches commercial property site, but does it differ from services already available?—UPDATED

On Monday, APN Media launched TrueCommercial, a digital hub dedicated to commercial property and ‘businesses for sale’ listings.

For the most part, the initiative serves as an online extension of the Herald’s Commercial Property section, which has until now been published twice a week. The section, which according to Nielsen has a readership of approximately 138,000 Kiwis, will now also be rebranded TrueCommercial from 6 August to give the offering uniformity across the print and digital channels. 

“It has been designed as New Zealand’s first stand alone and dedicated digital platform for commercial property and businesses for sale which brings editorial content, market research, analysis, statistical data along with listings all under one umbrella,” brand manager Maria Zolezzi.

In addition to featuring nationwide property listings aimed at investors, landowners, tenants and business entrepreneurs as well as business owners, the web version will also host editorial content to keep readers informed on changes in the business market. 

“We’re bringing New Zealand commercial property with perspective,” said APN NZ Media’s chief marketing officer Kursten Shalfoon in a release. “It’s the only website offering much more than national property listings – you’ll find trusted opinion, advice, key data trends and the latest property research.”

By throwing its editorial weight behind the project, APN is attempting to differentiate its new offering from Trade Me and RealEstate.com. Rather than being offered as just another real estate site, TrueCommercial is being promoted as an information zone, where investors can stay up to date with trends in the market while simultaneously perusing the properties available.

APN is also further consolidating the editorial aspect by linking the Herald’s audience to TrueCommercial via a tab on the news site’s navigation bar. APN says this move was made because the Herald’s daily audience consists of a high proportion of Kiwis likely to run or start businesses. 

According to a series of insights listed on the APN website, the Herald brand engages with 44 percent of the investment property market every week, 816,000 Kiwis use the Herald’s online and print offerings every week for advice on finance and investments, and 43 percent of advice seekers with investments over $100,000 engage with the Herald brand every week.

In addition to this, the website also says that Herald readers are 76 percent more likely to earn $200,000-plus compared to the average kiwi; have an average household income 24 percent higher than the national average; are 41 percent more likely to be employed in top three occupations compared to the average kiwi; and are 21 percent more likely to be business decision makers compared to the average kiwi (all statistics were sourced from Nielsen CMI figures). 

The website is currently being monetised through listings, which range from $99 (excluding GST) for a basic package to $199 (excluding GST) for an ad to feature on the Herald’s online property carousel. There are also pricier homepage feature opportunities that range between $200 and $500, depending on the level of exposure the advertiser wants. 

Comparatively, Trade Me charges $159 (excluding GST) for a standard commercial lease listing, while PrimeCommercial.co.nz (the partner of RealEstate.co.nz) charges between $49 and $250 (excluding GST). As a side note, Trade Me was recently criticised for increasing the rate charged for listings.  

While competitive in terms of pricing, TrueCommercial has some catching up do with the other two players in the market. At the time of writing, APN’s new offering only had a total of 12,098 listings while PrimeCommercial has 28,121 and Trade Me’s commercial section has 24,521.   

Although the website is currently reliant solely on listings as a revenue stream, it also has the potential to be used for content marketing purposes.

Across the media divide, Fairfax has already incorporated content marketing into its Stuff’s property section, and product development director Robert Hutchinson told StopPress in June that the project was going well.
“Essentially, we went into a partnership with ASB,” he said at the time. “They sponsor our Home & Property section on Stuff and then commission our team to write content, which then becomes labelled as sponsored and is interspersed throughout the page.”

Given that it would be relatively easy for APN to integrate something similar under the news section of the TrueCommercial website, it wouldn’t be much of surprise to see sponsored posts appear on the website in the near future.   

APN was asked if it planned to introduce a content marketing aspect to the new website, and we have been told a reply will follow shortly.

UPDATE: a spokesperson from APN says the company “will be looking at [content marketing]opportunities across the site in the very near future”.    

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