The FT on Debt and YP Publishers

Thanks to Simon Baptist for pointing me to a piece in the Financial Times, which discusses the debt predicaments of European yellow pages publishers and how that will affect their businesses. I’ll sidestep that vexing issue, which forced then RHD and Idearc into Chapter 11 (both are now out).

Here are some interesting bits from the article that caught my eye:

  • Truvo is forecasting a 29% drop in print revenues year on year in 2009, partially offset by a 12% increase in online sales.
  • Yell: “Around 20% of our overall revenues come from online advertising and in the UK it is 30%”
  • Pages Jaunes (France): around 45% of total revenues are derived from online advertisement sales

The Truvo decline is more aggressive than in the US but print YP publishers have suffered double-digit print declines during the recession. The question is where will that revenue go: to publishers in diversified product bundles or to third parties competing with them to offer online ads?

See my related post: SMB Market Getting ‘Noisier’ by the Day

One Response to “The FT on Debt and YP Publishers”

  1. Mike Stewart Says:

    In my opinion it will move towards a consulting based offering utilizing tools from the search engines. I think of it like a CPA, Attorney, or Doctor vs a product offer from a media company.

    Search engine marketing to me is more about the service vs the product. The product is Google, Digital Directories, and Websites….. the service to compete for ranking (just like judgments in a court room for attorneys) is where search engine marketing is going. It is a service business not a product purchase. The product is Search. Not websites. Not “SMLocal” or “YPConnect” or even “Yext”….

    Consider: If Google offers call tracking…. what business owner needs outsourcing Google management to a high margin publisher?

    Does this make sense?

    Local Professional Search Marketing is a trade. It is a growing industry. It is still infant.

    Will displaced Yellow Pages media consultants move with the tide? That remains to be seen. I planned on it years ago. At 28 years old, I have officially been in the industry (since post High School) for almost 10 years. Phone books have never worked well for my generation.

    Cheers,
    Mike Stewart

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