What does the Future Hold for the Directory Business? (Live @ DDC07)

Charles Laughlin, Senior Vice-President and Program Director at the Kelsey Group, presented this morning an interesting view of what society, media and the directory business will be like in 2020 compared to today.

Today:

  • Society today: we drive to and from work in gas-powered cars. We “go” online, We “consume” media.
  • Media today: mass media dominates, but user control is emerging. Media are largely priced using fixed rates, with a paradigm shift towards pay-for-performance. The Internet is still a media channel, like print, tv, or radio.
  • Directory business today: competition has created “title inflation” as we see more A-Z business directory books than ever. Print represents approximately 90% of the total revenues. Print usage is still larger than the sum of online directories and local search sites.

2020:

  • Society: we work wherever we are. When we drive, it’s hydrogen. We “live” online, media “surrounds” us.
  • Media: vertical and segmented, 100% measured and heavily performance-based. Internet is not a channel, it is the infrastructure.
  • Directory business: the number of print titles will be half of today’s number. Proliferation of specialized vertical targeted print directories, many from non-directory publishers. Print is not going away. It’s going to be more fragmented. Pricing is largely based on a multi-channel strategy, value-based, and supported by ubiquitous call measurement.

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