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Quokka goes online

SIX years after paying $16 million for classifieds rival Quokka, publisher WA Newspapers Holdings Ltd is planning to make the newspaper brand the centrepiece of its next online strategy – a free classified and auction site.In the past year WAN has launched a classifieds real estate site and revamped its online news site as competition with national majors News Corp and Fairfax Ltd escalated.WAN chief executive officer Ken Steinke said plans for the Quokka website were being finalised after a 12-month search and construction phase. “We see the site as an extension of our content and brand, rather than a defensive move, consistent with our philosophy that our core product is our WA content, not the platforms upon which we choose to distribute that content,” Mr Steinke said.Earnings before interest and tax for WAN’s existing digital operations were $4.2 million in the red for the year ending June 30 compared to a $2.5 million loss the previous year.Revenue from digital publishing was up by one third to $1.2 million from $900,000.WAN purchased the Quokka classifieds business in December 2002 and its earnings before interest, tax, and noteworthy items grew from $0.8 million for the 2002-2003 financial year to $2 million the following year.

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