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Nov 30 2005
Sensis Seen as Telstra Growth Engine
An interesting story just appeared on Bloomberg that reports Australian publisher Sensis, a unit of telecom Telstra, will be spared from a massive job-cutting program because it represents a critical component of Telstra's growth plans. Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo has announced plans to cut 12,000 jobs over the next five years. Sensis is committing to double its revenues by 2010, a tall order for any directory company. However, print Yellow Pages does not appear to be central to these growth objectives. Rather, the company will rely on Internet advertising and initiatives like Platefood, a London-based enterprise that will license Sensis' online search and directory platform to other European and Asian publishers. You can read the story here.

Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  14:53 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]

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 29 2005
Dex Claims Regional Leadership for 7th Straight Quarter
Dex Media issued a press release today announcing it has achieved a comfortable lead as the most-used IYP/local search site within Dex's 14-state home region, with a 32 percent share of directional media searches for the period, according to comScore. Dex came out ahead of Verizon SuperPages, Yahoo! (Local + Yellow Pages), Google Local and This certainly represents an achievement for Dex and an affirmation that its product is responsive to consumer needs. It also suggests Dex is doing an effective job of marketing its online directory. While Dex's success is praiseworthy, an incumbent directory publisher really should win in its home market if it is doing the right things. A failure to do so suggests an insufficient product, insufficient marketing or both. You can find Dex's announcement here.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  19:47 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Nov 21 2005
BellSouth Plans New Ad Campaign
BellSouth Adveritsing & Publishing is about to launch its first new advertising campaign in three years, this one aimed at users, carrying the line, "May the Best Choice Win." We haven't seen the ads, but it sounds like BellSouth will be taking aim at its growing list of directory competitors, at least in part, with the new campaign. In Atlanta, BellSouth's home market, it competes with Yellow Book and Metro Directories, among others. Verizon pulled out of the market recently when its sales results were disappointing. The new campaign comes on the eve of the expected launch of the new, which will fully integrate the IYPs of BellSouth and SBC. BellSouth and SBC have engaged SBC's agency, Austin, Texas-based GSD&M;, to promote Here is an article on the latest doings at BellSouth from the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  09:56 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Nov 21 2005
RHD, DEX Clear Hurdle
R.H. Donnelley Corp.'s proposed acquisition of Dex Media cleared a significant hurdle today when the waiting period required by the Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust law expired, leaving no futher antitrust approvals in order for the deal to move forward. You can read the press release here.

Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  09:40 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Nov 18 2005
Stover Back in the YP Game
Former NYNEX Information Services (now part of Verizon) CEO Matt Stover finds himself back at the helm of a Yellow Pages publishing company, albeit a much smaller one. Yesterday, Texas-based independent publisher ypOne announced that Stover has taken over as chairman and CEO of the company, which has operations in the United States and Canada. You can read the announcement here.

According to The Kelsey Group's Global Yellow Pages 2005 report, ypOne has more than 50 directory titles in the U.S. and Canada, with revenues estimated at around US$30 million. Its largest directory is the Golden Triangle book in Texas, with distribution of 232,000 copies. The company is owned by the private equity firms Frontenac and BMO Halyard Partners. Hiring Stover, who has been on the company's board since 2004, as CEO might signal ypOne's desire to step up its efforts to grow through acquisitions and new product launches. It may also signal a greater commitment to developing a viable digital strategy. At NYNEX, Stover oversaw the launch of BigYellow, one of the early Internet Yellow Pages directories, which was later absorbed into SuperPages.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  09:19 | permalink | comments [1] | 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]

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