A controversial full-page ad on page four of this morning’s Sydney Morning Herald has raised the stakes in Sydney’s real estate media war between the Herald’s owner, Fairfax, and suburban newspaper publisher IPMG. And it has raised questions about IPMG’s tactics of apparently trying to shore up exclusive deals with real estate agents in some parts of Sydney.

IPMG is part of the privately-owned Hannan Group, which includes a big stable of Sydney suburban newspapers and national magazines, and is also a major printer of magazines like Fairfax’s Good Weekend and BRW .

Under the heading IMPORTANT NOTICE TO ANYONE SELLLING A HOME, the SMH ad warned the sellers of houses in the eastern suburbs and the inner west about “incentives being offered by Hannan’s FPC Courier newspapers”.

The paper claimed some agents are concerned that the incentives restrict where they are able to advertise the properties they have for sale. It also told sellers to stand up for their rights and to “demand full disclosure of all financial arrangements that FPC Courier is imposing on real estate agents.”

The ad then advises anyone with a concern to “Please call the ACCC urgently on 1300 302 502 if you have any concerns about the sale of your property.”

IPMG managing director Michael Hannan was in a meeting late this morning and couldn’t talk to us, but last night he was reportedly at the high society launch of a new look Vogue Entertaining+Travel (produced by IPMG) at an inner suburban eatery. That will make the social pages in the FPC paper, The Wentworth Courier, and perhaps the Sunday society pages.

Peter Fray

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