IAC Moves into Real Estate Brokerages

Barry Diller’s IAC/Interactive is saying that it intends to become a full service Real Estate provider next year, operating brokerages in the Pacific Northwest.

The announcement might be seen as a strange one, since IAC hasn’t settled on whether it will buy or build the brokerages. But it hints at IAC’s wide ranging ambitions in Real Estate, where it already owns Lendingtree.com, which shops for the cheapest mortgage; and RealEstate.com, which provides leads to Realtors in exchange for “soft” consumer kickbacks and a piece of the action.

For IAC, the move into owning brokerages would theoretically complete its Real Estate loop, at least to the extent permissible under today’s regulations, which prevent banks from directly participating in sales.

Planet Discover Adds Gannett, Scripps

Planet Discover’s addition of Gannett and Scripps titles suggests that it is increasingly poised to breakout in the newspaper search space. The potential for newspaper search remains fairly good, as newspapers begin to compete more seriously against the Yellow Pages for search-oriented shopping and small business advertising.

For Planet Discover, the Scripps tie is especially interesting, as the parent company looks for ways to localize its new Shopzilla acquisition. Up to now, Scripps executives have solely focused on Shopzilla’s synergies with the conglomerate’s non-local cable properties, such as HGTV, The Food network and DIY.

Estimating Online Revenues for Newspapers

eMarketer is out with a new forecast for online newspaper revenues, which is is unreliable but basically in line with prior efforts from The NAA(very optimistic) and Borrell Associates Inc. (fairly optimistic).

For the record, we note here that eMarketer is saying that newspapers made $1.03 billion in 2004 and predicts that they will make $1.4 billion in 2005. NAA hasn’t forecast its 2005 numbers yet, but said that newspapers made $1.5 billion in 2004. It found that newspapers made $500 million in Q2, so newspapers would be theoretically in line to surpass $2 million for the year. Borrell reported $1.19 billion for 2004 and forecasts $1.52 billion this year.