Yellow Pages Industry Looks to Digital for Growth

Yellow Pages publishers have known for some time that the revenue generated from their traditional directories is in decline. Many of these publishers are successfully transitioning to other media products. But new research shows that the industry overall is facing a revenue drop for the next few years.

The analysts at BIA/​Kelsey regularly study  revenue trends in the Yellow Pages industry. In the sixth edition of the Global Yellow PagesTM report, the firm’s analysts are expecting a ‑1.5% compound growth rate through 2015. This decrease would bring spending, in both digital and print directories, from $23.4 billion in 2011 to $22.0 billion in 2015. In the next 3 years, the digital format will continue to erode the print base.  In the U.S., these publishers can expect to see about $6.2 billion less in print revenue which translates to a ‑11% CAGR. Report coauthor, Charles Laughlin, also senior vice president, program director, BIA/​Kelsey, says that print declines are moderating. But the future is clearly digital for this sector and he notes, “Recent stock market gains by publishers may indicate increasing confidence in publishers' ability to turn the corner with new digital products."

Well over half, 53%, of the Yellow Pages industry revenue will stem from digital sources by 2015. This year, the digital activity is expected to amount to 29% of the industry total. These publishers are offering a range of services to clients. Outside of Internet Yellow Pages platforms, growth vehicles will include websites, video, social, mobile and SEM. This is a crowded marketplace but Yellow Pages publishers are coming in with a loyal customer base and may well be able to transition these clients successfully to new digital formats.

[Source: Newly released sixth edition of Global Yellow Page. BIA Kelsey. 6 Dec. 2011. Web. 15 Dec. 2011] 

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.