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Nov 29 2005
Canada Lets YPG's Golden Goose Continue Laying Eggs
The Canadian Finance Minster issued a ruling yesterday on the taxation of income trusts that has left Yellow Pages Group President and CEO Marc Tellier breathing a sigh of relief. The government decided to reduce the tax on dividend income, making the trusts more attractive to individual investors. There had been fears that the government would increase taxes on the trusts to raise revenue and to put cold water on the trusts. YPG's reaction can be read here.

The trusts were once seen as a highly specialized asset class but are now increasingly popular, with many prominent Canadian companies looking for ways to convert to tax-advantaged income trusts. One of the trust model's main popularizers has been YPG. The company has shown it can both grow and invest in the business within the trust structure, which essentially delivers all free cash back to trust unit-holders. Had the government made a different decision, YPG might have been left scrambling. And while business would have continued regardless, its valuation would likely have suffered.

Here is a comment from Tellier: "We believe the decision to cut the taxation on dividends will make Canada more competitive. The threat to productivity is not the income trust structure but the relatively high levels of taxation on corporations and individuals, and we are satisfied that the government understands this concern. Clearly they have responded to the input of Canadians from across Canada as part of this consultation process."
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  20:43 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Nov 16 2005
Major Market Meltdown?
It's nothing new to observe that big markets are disproportionately important to Yellow Pages publishers and that they are often the most in distress. The recent spate of nine-month conference calls among European directory publishers has reinforced this point and raised the question of how publishers can stanch the bleeding in their biggest and most profitable markets.

Notably, Eniro, Seat and TPI each revealed that one way or another they are having trouble generating growth in top markets. In fact, most of their biggest markets are in the red, and one of the key culprits is higher churn rates among large accounts.

Our question is: Is this the canary in the coal mine? Or can publishers address these issues through product tweaks and adjustments to how sales are segmented, etc.? My sense is that with a lot of work, publishers can soften the blow and minimize the declines. But major markets all over the world are now battlegrounds for so many competitive media, digital and traditional, that publishers need to develop a realistic set of expectations going forward.

We will offer some details of this topic later this week in Local Media Journal.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  13:47 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Nov 16 2005
SBC CFO on Yellow Pages and IPTV
Interesting Q&A with SBC CFO Richard Linder in the latest issue of BusinessWeek. He discusses the possibilities for selling advertising on IPTV using the directory sales force. It's an indication of the strategic importance SBC is placing on its Yellow Pages business, and in particular. You can read the interview here.

Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  11:09 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Nov 10 2005
What Is Dex��s Approach to Monetizing Search?
Here is one item of interest from our notes of Dex Media's recent third-quarter earnings conference call. Dex President and CEO George Burnett was asked how the publisher planned to monetize the traffic it is buying for its Dex Online IYP.

His response:

��We are looking at a few different monetization strategies. �� One is to charge for the incremental usage we get from Google Local, Yahoo! Local and Yahoo! Yellow Pages in the aggregate pricing of our bundle. The 1A version of that is to not really charge directly within the bundle but to improve the value proposition and therefore incremental revenue from retention. Another option we are testing is to charge specifically incrementally for the preferred placement where we are paying cash.��

Burnett says all three models are being tested. He promised to share results once they have them. We will provide more details of Dex's year-to-date results in Local Media Journal and in an upcoming Advisory summarizing the year to date in the global Yellow Pages industry.

Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  11:10 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]

Nov 10 2005
TPI Buys Argentine Publisher
The Spanish publisher Telefónica Publicidad e Información (TPI) has expanded its presence in South America with the acquisition of Telinver, Argentina's largest directory publisher. The enterprise value of the deal was US$74 million. TPI already owns the market leaders in Chile and Peru as well as a leading competitive publisher in Brazil. TPI's main rival in the region is Publicar, which is based in Colombia with operations throughout Central and South America.

Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  10:18 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Nov 4 2005
Yellow Pages Group's New Home Improvement Guides
Canada's Yellow Pages Group is working with magazine publisher Transcontinental Media to publish home improvement guides that combine magzine-like editorial with directory information. YPG's Ezana Raswork talked about this initiative at our recent DDC2005 conference.

Transcontinental will provide the content and sell into the editorial piece, while YPG will handle directory sales through a subsidiary called Snap Guides. The idea is to offer advertisers in a key directory category a more targeted product. It's an interesting and creative example of a cross-media partnership.

Here is a link to the press release.

Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  07:20 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Nov 4 2005
Developments in Euro Search & Directory
Here are some interesting items we've come across in the European search and directory world:
* Eniro has announced a partnership with Internet telephony player Skype to include Skype addresses in Eniro's online database of names and numbers. Skype is launching a toolbar that will allow direct connection to both Skype subscribers and conventional phone numbers.
* The Spanish publisher TPI is said to be in the process of developing its own search service, called Noxtrum. The launch is supposed to take place in December, according to European press reports.
* The German online directory has launched a free pay-per-call service using VoIP.

Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  06:47 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [2]

Nov 1 2005
The SBC-BellSouth Marriage that Never Was
Interesting article in USA Today yesterday on BellSouth and its reluctance to jump into the M&A game as aggressively as SBC and others have. The article recounts how, after the wireless company Cingular acquired AT&T's wireless business, SBC CEO Ed Whitacre proposed an SBC-BellSouth merger. BellSouth CEO Duane Ackerman passed, but offered a plan of his own. He wanted to merge the assets of the two companies into three separate, public companies for wireline, wireless and Yellow Pages. Whitacre instead went after the acquisition of AT&T and the rest is history. Here is the article.

Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  16:04 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

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