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Jul 28 2005
Eniro Digs Itself Slowly Out of Core Product Hole
The Swedish publisher Eniro AB has pledged to reduce the decline of its Swedish print business at a faster pace than earlier promised. The publisher saw its print directory revenues in its flagship Swedish market decline by almost 11 percent last year. It originally pledged to cut that figure to minus 5.5 percent and 0 percent in 2006. In its first-half results issued this week, the publisher said it expected print in Sweden to decline by 3 percent this year, and reach neutrality next year.

It appears that some of the measures the publisher has taken to stem the decline, including a product overhaul, process improvements, pricing changes and a sales reorganization, are starting to take effect.

The Kelsey Group will produce a detailed Advisory in August that takes a look at half-year results and analyzes what they say about the direction of the global Yellow Pages industry in 2005.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  09:11 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jul 18 2005
Swedish Businesses Following Consumers Online
A survey from eMarketer reveals some interesting data on the Swedish online advertising market. Swedish advertisers are moving full force into online advertising in Europe's most wired country. But there is fairly widespread dissatisfaction with online advertising among Swedish Internet users.

This item has both good and bad news for Sweden's directory industry, which has already gone multi-platform. In 2004, market leader Eniro generated almost 33 percent of its revenues in Sweden from online and voice services (including DA).

One possible inference from the apparent disconnect between advertisers and consumers is that advertisers are ahead of consumers in terms of adopting online advertising. Another is that online advertising has done a better job of alienating than persuading consumers.

However, when 72 percent of Swedish advertisers (a number derived from a sample of just 89) say they use online advertising, it can't just be based on following the fad. Swedish consumers are online and advertisers know they need to be there. The key perhaps is to be there when consumers look for them, rather than trying to force themselves into the consumer's field of vision. This speaks to the power of online directional media.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  00:59 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jul 5 2005
TransWestern to 'Explore Strategic Options'
TransWestern Publishing issued a brief press release today announcing that it has engaged Goldman Sachs to "explore strategic alternatives." Generally, this language translates into, "We are for sale."

One question of course is, who is the likely buyer? Yellow Book always comes to mind whenever the sale of any major independent comes up (or any independent for that matter). Another private equity transaction is always a possibility. Or what about another media player? Hearst bought White in order to broaden its customer and content base, not to mention its cash flow and revenue stream. Who's to say another media player won't show an interest in a company that has revenues of close to US$400 million and an EBITDA margins of around 30 percent?

Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  11:21 | permalink | comments [3] | trackbacks [0]

Jul 5 2005
YBR Sale Gets Green Light
An article yesterday on reported that European antitrust regulators have given the nod to the acquisition of Yellow Brick Road by an international private equity consortium. YBR is a holding comany that includes Fonecta (Finland), Mediatel (Austria and Czech Republic) and the Netherlands (Telefoongids). The buyers, led by Australia's Macquarie Bank Ltd., bought the publishing group from the private equities 3i Group and Veronis Suhler Stevenson in May for 1.8 billion euros.

Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  09:07 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jul 1 2005
Sensis Enters Online Recruitment Business
The Australian directory publisher Sensis continues its expansion into markets traditionally dominated by newspapers by entering the online recruitment advertising business. Sensis makes its move through the creation of a separate business called LinkMe, which will operate as a joint venture between Sensis and Morgan & Banks Investments.

The online recruitment advertising business is said to be worth 2 billion Australian dollars.

The Kelsey Group will address the issue of convergence between the directories and classifieds businesses in a session titled, Creating Cross-Media Synergies, at our Directory Driven Commerce Conference, which takes place Sept. 27-29, 2005, in Denver.

John King, who is in charge of the classifieds business for Sensis, will be among the panelists.

TKG will cover the LinkMe announcement in greater detail in next week's Local Media Journal.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  17:25 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jun 28 2005
Publishers Face Universal Challenges
The Kelsey Group met last week with Publicar, Colombia's leading directory publisher, and was given a look at the results of recent user focus groups conducted in that country. The results were fascinating to us, because they were so similar to the results of similar focus groups conducted here in the United States.

What we discovered is the issues facing directory operators in Bogota are essentially the same ones faced in the United States, and to a large measure in Europe and other developed directory markets: How to keep the core directory relevant to a consuming public that is growing accustomed to finding information online.

Colombian consumers with Internet access interviewed in the focus groups expressed a similar tendency to use the Internet less than those without access, and are more likely to turn to search engines to find out information about local businesses.

While we must always note the limitations of focus groups, the consistency of the findings is striking to us. And the fact that these results are similar in what is perceived to be a developing market is all the more interesting.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  07:57 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

May 20 2005
Bain Wastes Little Time Selling SuperPages Canada
This just might be a record for the shortest holding period for a private equity investing in the directories business. This morning, Yellow Pages Group announced it will buy the SuperPages Canada business, which Bain Capital had acquired from Verizon back in September for C$1.98 billion. Today, the price is C$2.55 billion.

We haven��t yet listened to the conference call explaining the deal, but it is no secret that YPG was an eager suitor the last time this property was for sale (way back in 2004), and clearly it never gave up on the idea of creating a national platform for it print and online directories business.

It��s worth noting that the price went up by a half billion Canadian in the time Bain owned the asset. It is also interesting that Bain took the decision late last year to close rather than sell its Eastern Canadian operations. That decision certainly makes it easier and cleaner for YPG to acquire the Bain assets, since there is now no market overlap.

And the incredibly brief holding period by Bain may suggest a general trend toward shorter holding periods. 3i and VSS have signaled a possible quick exit from Yellow Brick Road in Europe.

We will have more coverage of this deal in Local Media Journal later this week.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  07:01 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

May 19 2005
Dateline: EADP Roma
The nature of local search and its potential for usurpring the strong position Yellow Pages holds here in Europe dominated the morning session at the EADP's spring meeting in Rome. Jean-Marie Guille, who runs online directories for France's PagesJaunes, laid out with great clarity the situation publisher finds itself in as local search emerges in Europe. He shared high-level results from some research commissioned by PagesJaunes showing the relative position of search engines vs. online directories in various European markets. The results showed that Google's position is very strong, but not uniformly so from market to market.

A hot discussion topic was Yell's recent decision to partner with Google in a manner similar to the deal struck by Yellow Pages Group in Canada, sharing data in exchange for offering advertisers exposure to the search engine's enormous traffic. The deal has resurfaced debate over which course is best -- partner now to protect customers relationships, or make a decision to compete and own the entire value chain.

Guille called search the first directly competitive medium to emerge in the history of Yellow Pages. ��The difference is that search uses the same sales arguments as Yellow Pages, interacts [with the user] at the same moment that a purchase decision is being made.��

PagesJaunes commissioned Nielsen to study comparative reach of search properties in European markets. It basically showed that Google dominated most markets. One exeption was Sweden, where Google had 32% share, while adding together the various Eniro properties came to just under 40%. Shows that market position determines a lot of the strategy a given player follows. PagesJaunes also extrapolated results to show that IYPs monetize local searches at a much higher revenue per visit than search engines.

eBay's Gil Penchina, who runs Southern Europe, came to discuss its evolution of working with SMEs. One of his most interesting comments was that eBay sees the value of structured data that directories possess, and the online auction company is trying to make its data (particularly small business) more structured, and therefore usable, translatable, etc. using more forms and templates .

Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  15:02 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

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