The Kelsey Report® spent last week in Europe, much of
it at the Yellow Pages Today conference in Düsseldorf,
presented by the regional directory industry consultants,
Peter Buxton and Jesper Simonson. During the week, TKR heard
from or visited with three new European CEOs, each of which
offers a new or fresh perspective on the dynamics of our industry.
of the Yellow Pages Today event was the preservation of margins,
a topic that begs a discussion of all aspects of the business.
European directory publishers enjoy healthy margins and in
most cases little direct competition. Yet there is a growing
appreciation that just because an independent publisher has
not successfully taken away market share doesnt mean
European publishers do not face competitive threats. Certainly
there are other local and below-the-line media that compete
for the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
finite promotional budget. The emergence of search engines
as a challenger for SME ad spend is also a reality in Europe.
publishers face some stark choices in deciding how to respond
to competitive threats. The search engines and those offering
search engine monetization are eager for publisher
partnerships in Europe, but there appears to be a strong tendency
among publishers in many European markets to prefer the Sensis
way. This is an emerging shorthand for choosing to
build all of the strategic components of an Internet Yellow
Pages/local search product brand, product, inventory,
distribution and sales channels and forming partnerships
only for those components they have little expertise in or
incentive to develop. These are some of the challenges that
the new leadership in Europe is addressing.