View Media Group (VMG) is a prominent player in the real estate digital media and agent services industry, offering innovative B2C and B2B proptech platforms.
Among its notable ventures is The Today Business, a real estate services marketing and tech project spearheaded by Catalano himself. Additionally, VMG encompasses houseandlanddevelopments.com.au, a platform launched by Catalano’s son Jordan in collaboration with Tom Hywood, son of former Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood. Furthermore, Catalano has provided support for a real estate media business backed in 2019.
The exact value of Seven West Ventures’ equity investment, comprising both cash and media expenditure, remains undisclosed. However, Catalano and Waislitz are also contributing “significant capital” alongside media services from their regional newspaper business Australian Community Media (ACM), resulting in a total investment exceeding $100 million for VMG.
Originally known as IMP, View Media Group was established through the joint-venture firm 20 Cashews. Catalano holds a 50% ownership stake, with the remaining 50% split between Waislitz’s private Thorney Investment Group and the publicly-listed Thorney Opportunities Ltd.
Catalano expressed that this new venture unites a diverse group of businesses and industry experts to create a true disruptor within the rapidly evolving proptech sector. VMG aims to build a global-first conglomerate of proptech assets, encompassing portals, ad tech, lead generation, lead management solutions, media planning and buying, AI services, data, and connections, all consolidated under one roof. He further emphasized that VMG has exciting announcements in store for the industry, including upcoming partnerships with fast-growing tech startups.
Initially, VMG will hold a 72% stake in the search portal realestateview.com.au (REV), while also making minority investments in market-leading AI and data enterprise Propic, as well as the utilities comparison and connection business Beevo. Last year, Catalano and Waislitz injected $6 million into Propic during a Series A funding round. Propic specializes in AI-based chatbot solutions that enable agents and property managers to engage in automated conversational or text-based communication.
The power of 7
Seven West Media CEO James Warburton announced that Seven West Ventures is supporting businesses that can benefit from the company’s extensive range of media assets, including TV, BVOD, digital, and print platforms such as The West Australian. Warburton expressed his enthusiasm for the investment in VMG, acknowledging the potential for success with the combination of Seven West Media, Antony Catalano’s expertise, and the skilled team he has assembled.
The deal signifies Catalano’s challenge against his former employer, Nine, which currently owns Fairfax. In 2019, Catalano, along with billionaire Alex Waislitz, acquired ACM from Nine for $115 million after its merger with the former Fairfax newspaper business. It’s worth noting that Fairfax had initially purchased the titles for $3 billion in 2007. Additionally, Catalano and Waislitz hold a significant stake in WIN, a regional TV broadcaster and Nine affiliate.
Having a background as a journalist, Catalano has made a name for himself as a serial entrepreneur in the real estate industry. He played a crucial role in establishing Domain as a digital powerhouse during its early days at Fairfax. Following his departure, Catalano launched Metro Media Publishing. Interestingly, Fairfax invested over $100 million to acquire MMP over several years until 2015, and Catalano returned to lead Domain to its $2.3 billion IPO in 2017.
Catalano’s attention is once again focused on the potential within the property market. He sees the investment and partnership with Seven West Media as a strong endorsement of VMG’s potential. Catalano believes that this collaboration will accelerate their growth and acquisition plans. He highlights the dominant position of Seven West Media in television and BVOD across Australia, along with the influence of West Australian Newspapers in Western Australia, creating a business that reaches 91% of Australians each month.
At VMG, Catalano has assembled a team with extensive experience in the property industry. These professionals, who have already established successful businesses in their respective fields, will come together to create a property ecosystem. The objective is to generate value and offer customers a seamless end-to-end experience by integrating various businesses within this ecosystem. Catalano aims to revolutionize the property market by providing tools that facilitate browsing, searching, transacting, settling, and moving in, ultimately making the entire buying journey easier for customers. He emphasizes that VMG is taking a unique perspective on the market, aiming to redefine the property purchasing experience.