The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has
issued a draft notice proposing to revoke a notification*
concerning advertising contracts the Wentworth
Courier,** a free weekly community newspaper delivered to
households and businesses in the eastern suburbs of Sydney,
offers to real estate agents within its circulation area.
Under the contracts real estate agents agree to place 75 per
cent of their print display real estate advertising for
properties in its circulation area with the Wentworth
Courier in consideration for significantly discounted
"It is not uncommon for publishers to offer advertisers
volume based rebates", ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel
"However, the Wentworth Courier's
advertising contracts go much further than this. In effect, the
advertising contracts prevent real estate agents from placing
more than 25 per cent of relevant advertising with competing
"Real estate agents are offered the opportunity to
advertise in the Wentworth Courier without agreeing to
the 75 per cent requirement. However, the prominence of the
Wentworth Courier as an advertising platform for real estate in
eastern Sydney and the discounts provided to real estate agents
who agree to the 75 per cent requirement mean that agents who
do not agree to the requirement are significantly disadvantaged
in competing for vendors business."
"The 75 per cent requirement all but forecloses the
possibility of another local community newspaper effectively
competing with the Wentworth Courier to supply print
display advertising to eastern Sydney real estate
"The requirement also severely restricts the ability of
Sydney daily newspapers, such as the Domain East
insert in The Sydney Morning Herald, to compete for
"As a consequence, other publications are unlikely to
act as a significant competitive constrain on the terms and
conditions offered to real estate agents by the Wentworth
While the 75 per cent requirement does not restrict real
estate agents in advertising through other mediums, such as the
internet, these other mediums are generally not close
substitutes for print display advertising.
"The ACCC has formed the preliminary view that the 75
per cent requirement is likely to have an anticompetitive
effect and does not have net public benefits," Mr Samuel
While the arrangements have been in place for a number of
years the ACCC has reviewed the notification in light of recent
concerns raised regarding the 75 per cent requirement.
The Wentworth Courier and interested parties now
have time to lodge submissions in response to the draft notice,
before the ACCC decides whether to issue a final notice
revoking the notification.
More information regarding the notification and a copy of
the draft notice will be available from the ACCC's
website, or by emailing the Adjudication Branch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*By lodging an exclusive dealing notification with the ACCC,
a party obtains immunity from court action for that conduct. In
this case, immunity is conferred automatically when the
notification is lodged. Once the ACCC receives a notification,
it reviews the purpose and effect of the notified conduct. If
the ACCC forms the view that the conduct substantially lessens
competition, and that it does not deliver a net public benefit,
it may issue a draft notice proposing to revoke the
notification. After considering any submissions from interested
parties in response to the draft notice, and conducting a
conference if any of the interested parties call for a
conference, the ACCC must decide whether to issue a final
**The Wentworth Courier is part of the Federal
Publishing Company Community Media Group, now called the
Courier Newspaper Group, which was a division of the Eastern
Suburban Newspapers partnership, a partnership of a number of
subsidiaries of subsidiaries of F Hannan Pty Ltd. The FPC was
recently acquired by News Limited.
The content of this article is intended to provide a
general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should
be sought about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
In some cases these fees or surcharges are higher than what a bank charges to these merchants for use of the system.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).