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Jasons profit drops on What's On guides

Jasons profit drops on What's On Guides; recession lifts holiday directories

By Peter Kerr

Nov. 17 (BusinessWire) – Jasons Travel Media said first-half earnings fell 11% as the economic downturn dented advertising at its What's On guides, offsetting stronger returns from its holiday directories as more kiwis chose to take vacations at home.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell to $2.33 million in the six months ended Sept. 30, from $2.6 million a year earlier, Jasons said in a statement. The Auckland-based company publishes Motel, Holiday Park and Bed & Breakfast directories as part of its core business and has ‘non-core’ publications including What's On.

“The core publication business has had a bumper year because of an increase in domestic tourism,” said Jasons managing director Matthew Mayne. “A lot of people, instead of going overseas or to a plush hotel, decided to have a motel holiday or a holiday park holiday.”

Non-core businesses such as the city and regional based What's On guides have financially suffered during the recession, he said.
Still, “we’ve retained the commitment to continue spending on these products, and haven’t reduced their iterations, regardless of the number of advertisers in them,” Mayne said. “When the recession finishes we will be in a strong position.”

Shares of Jasons last traded at 55 cents and have tumbled 21% in the past week.

Mayne said some of Jasons competitors ran into trouble during the tourism downturn and he expects his company to come out much stronger due to its retained commitment to non-core publications.

The increased level of business confidence reflected in opinion surveys is reflected in the company’s forward bookings.

“We believe, because we’ve continued our investment in these local guide products, we’ll be in an extremely dominant position,” Mayne said.

The media company now realises a third of its revenue from advertisers paying for Jasons on-line information and booking format.

Over 200,000 unique visitors log into Jasons websites each month, split between 110,000 domestic and 90,000 international users.

(BusinessWire)

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