Issue: SBC Finds
a Way to Grow, Sees National as Biggest Challenge
News: SBC Directory
Operations President Denny Payne spent some time with The Kelsey Group
recently to discuss his outlook on the business. He also provided some
insight into how one of the directory industry's powerhouses fared in
2001, one of the toughest years in memory for the media business. SBC
Directory Operations is the world's largest Yellow Pages organization,
based on publicly reported directory revenues of $4.34 billion in 2000,
compared with $4.14 billion for Verizon Information Services.
Payne says SBC managed
to eke out positive growth in 2001 and expects to do the same in 2002.
Payne acknowledged that a combination of the recession, September 11 and
some serious competitive challenges made 2001 a very challenging year.
Yet Payne expressed a bullish outlook for the IYP business. He was far
less enthusiastic about the performance of the national channel. Nonetheless,
Payne expressed support for the CMR channel and insists SBC is not currently
evaluating any radical changes in the way national Yellow Pages advertising
Payne, who rose up
through the Yellow Pages sales ranks at Southwestern Bell and later SBC,
replaced Pat Engels as president and CEO of the directory operation in
October of last year. This was his first interview with TKG since taking