Charles Laughlin: State of the Yellow Pages Nation & Predictions

Continuing Charles Laughlin’s kick-off presentation at the Kelsey Group DMS ’08 conference, he gave a state of the Yellow Pages nation.

Where are we today?

  1. Print revenues are declining – in most places – with pace accelerating (US, most of Europe, exception: Australia, Canada, Yellow Book in the US)
  2. Belief in product eroding in many areas – including among many within the industry
  3. Economy is a factor – but long-term shift also at play
  4. Many publishers are successfully making the single product – multi-product transition
  5. Other publishers risk long term viability by not making the shift quickly enough.

What will the winners do?

  1. Measure everything and embrace transparency
  2. Invest in sales transformation
  3. Leverage technology to enable transformation
  4. Recognize and protect core assets
  5. Ruthlessly shed the rest
  6. Continue to invest and believe in print

Predictions (by 2013)

  1. US print titles circulation will decline by 30%
  2. Printed residential white pages reduced to minimal on-request print run
  3. At least one global publisher divests its print Yellow Pages business
  4. Professional services advertisers will have largely shifted from print to online
  5. Print revenues in home services advertisers (ex: plumbers) will remain stable
  6. Self-provisioning will account for 25% of directional media sales

More on the Kelsey Group blog.


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