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The Kelsey Report® Advisory

View from the Top: Denny Payne, SBCDO
Charles Laughlin , 1/22/2002

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 is sold.

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 over.

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