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Feb 28 2006
Telefonica May Sell TPI
Spanish telecom Telefonica may be ready to sell its 59.9 percent stake in the directory publisher Telefonica Publicidad e Informacion. One of TPI's apparent suitors is Apax Group, which is a former part owner of Britain's Yell Group, along with Hicks Muse.

You can read about the possible sale here and here.

TPI has a leadership position in directories in Spain, along with a strong position in South America, virtually owning the market in Peru and Chile, with solid positions in Brazil and Argentina. The company also has a growing competitive DA business in Italy.


Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
 
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  17:16 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 22 2006
We're No. 2?
If you just read the headline from each of the companies reporting on the new national syndication research results, you could be excused if you thought that a lot of companies are the most used Yellow Pages directories. Some companies are taking the results from a few cities and seem to be implying that they are the national leaders. We are concerned that this is a slippery slope.

Who is No. 1 among cola beverages? If you ask that question in Texas, the answer would be Dr. Pepper. If you exclude fountain sales, Pepsi sells the most nationwide. But overall, Coke is the leader. Frankly, I don't really care. I drink the cola beverage that I prefer.

In the automotive category, General Motors says Chevrolet was the top-selling brand in the U.S. last year, but Ford disagrees. Ford bases its leadership claim on third-party data compiled by auto research firm R.L. Polk. Unlike Coke and Pepsi, which combined have over 90 percent of the cola market share, Ford and Chevrolet face a significant challenger in Toyota, whose brand is closing the gap, particularly when bulk sales of vehicles to fleets aren't counted.

A medium is a different animal than a beverage or a car, but the ability to show your publication as the leader in a particular market, especially on a cost-per-use basis, can be a valuable tool. If syndicated research is here to stay, and The Kelsey Group hopes it will be because it supports our ROI story, we need to have standards that everyone who participates agrees to.

If the Yellow Pages industry wants the credibility that syndicated research gives it, headlines and claims must be reasonable. I am not suggesting that any company has not told the truth in its press releases, but it is most important that the perception by advertisers reflect reality in the particular markets in which they are trying to reach their users. Otherwise, syndicated research won't be taken seriously.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
 
posted by  John Kelsey at  16:32 | permalink | comments [5] | trackbacks [1]



Feb 22 2006
YPG Looking South?
Interesting story in yesterday's National Post (Canada). The topic is not entirely new, the possible acquisition of a U.S. publisher by Canada's Yellow Pages Group. The article does provide a sourced comment from YPG's CFO, and it offers some detailed speculation of what YPG migth consider buying � namely choice pieces of Verizon Information Services (which is on the record as being a pending spin-off) and/or AT&T Yellow Pages (which is not). It's clear that any existing Yellow Pages player buying either company outright would be biting off way more than it could chew.

You can read the National Post article here.

The article is yet another sign of what we expect to see in the next few years, which is the final de-linking of Yellow Pages from telecoms in the United States.

Ownership of directories in the U.S. is becoming the bastion of private equities and strategic players (i.e., other publishers and media companies). This raises all kinds of interesting scenarios involving cross-media combinations and perhaps some very strange bedfellows.

The rationale for a telecom keeping a publisher comes down to one thing � cash. Do they need it all right now, or would they rather keep getting it a little bit at a time?
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
 
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  10:04 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 15 2006
Eniro to Launch Dedicated Internet Sales
Listened to Eniro's 2005 earnings call yesterday. A number of interesting details, which we will explore in Local Media Journal next week.

One key revelation was that print revenues in Norway are going to decline by 10 percent in 2006. Eniro just acquired Findexa, Norway's leading publisher, and this revelation generated a lot of questions on the call about the extent of Eniro's visibility into Findexa's challenges when it bought the company. Eniro's stock was down almost 13 percent yesterday. Today it is trading about 1 percent lower.

Another notable detail is that Eniro is moving to a dedicated online sales force in Sweden. One reason Eniro CEO Tomas Franzen cited was that the publisher needed to get out of the cycle of selling online advertising based on a print publishing cycle. We are going to write about evolutions in online selling practices in an upcoming Advisory from The Kelsey Report.

Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
 
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  10:39 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 13 2006
Berry Adding 100 Digital Reps
Just saw this article in the Dayton Business Journal about The Berry Company's growing online sales force. As we wrote in the last edition of Local Media Journal , Berry recently signed a deal with Marchex to upgrade its guaranteed clicks program, which the publisher tells us has been selling well, with growth at a much faster pace than IYP sales. The new reps will sell both IYP and search engine advertising. TKR will be coming out with an advisory soon that examines current best practices in IYP sales.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
 
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  16:06 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 9 2006
AT&T Weighs in on Syndicated Research
AT&T Yellow Pages has contributed to the debate over syndicated research by releasing its own assessment of how it has done so far in its markets measured as part of the ongoing third-party syndicated usage program.

AT&T Yellow Pages (formerly SBC) is the world's largest Yellow Pages publisher, and it operates in major markets in the Midwest, Southwest and West Coast, including such large markets as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Detroit and Cleveland.

According to its press release, AT&T has garnered an average 72.5 percent share of the 26 Yellow Pages Market Reporter studies released so far covering its markets. We called AT&T to ask if they could share any specific examples. They declined, saying that level of detail is being reserved for CMRs and advertisers. Nonetheless, a company spokesman did say that the publisher has a "major usage leadership position, except in a handful of markets."

The AT&T release makes it the fourth publisher to issue a press release touting the outcome of the synidicated research. The others are Verizon Information Services, Yellow Book and Ambassador.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
 
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  15:30 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [10]



Feb 9 2006
Hicks Quick to Expand in Canada
Not long after completing its acquisition of Phone Directories' Canadian operations, U.S. buyout firm Hicks Muse is pushing an aggressive expansion into bigger Canadian markets.

Next week, Canadian Phone Directories, the Hicks-backed company led by industry veteran Olivier Vincent, will begin a sales canvass for a Vancouver, BC, phone book. The book will overlay four Yellow Pages Group directories in the city. Vincent told us the distribution will be about 700,000 and rates will be about half those of the largest of the competing YPG books.

Also, CPD will re-launch the Calgary book to give it more distribution and sales muscle. Vincent told us the new Calgary book will distribute 600,000 copies, compared with 350,000 before.

The Calgary and Vancouver directories will both publish in the fourth quarter of this year.

These two developments make it clear that CPD plans to invest in making a more serious competitive challenge to YPG, which is by far the largest incumbent in Canada, than the previous Phone Directories operation was able to do.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
 
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  14:52 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 9 2006
Yell's Irritation Over Rate Cap Issue
Yell Group just posted solid numbers for the first nine months of its financial year, which ends on March 31. Its U.S. unit, Yellow Book, continues to post double digit gains, even when acquisitions are taken out of the picture. Results were also good in the U.K., where overall growth was 5.6 percent, and the IYP Yell.com continues to accelerate, growing at 62.4 percent.

The mixed blessing is that in the U.K. Yell faces a looming decision from the Competition Commission on whether to end, minimize, maintain or intensify the rate cap that Yell now operates under. The decision is expected in August, and last month, the commission issued a glimpse into its thinking that suggests its options may have narrowed to either maintaining or intensifying the rate cap.

Yell executives, understandably in our view, have not done very well at hiding their irritation. Yell issued a stinging rebuke of the commission's statement, and has refused to back off since.

The commission seems to think that it can will a share shift into existence by curtailing Yell's ability to raise prices. We think the commission has invoked the law of unintended consequences by forcing Yell to grow through innovation and improved service (both good outcomes), and it has also given the publisher a bit of good news to bring into sales calls each year ("Good morning, prices are lower again this year!").

Rather than accept that pricing intervention has failed because it is fundamentally wrong-headed, the commission seems to think it will work sooner or later if only it causes Yell enough pain.

We see the U.K. as a competitive market, with BT and Thomson competing for share, along with a smattering of other smaller players. Is Yell strong? Of course. In the U.S., its division Yellow Book has grown as a competitive publisher by exploiting a pricing umbrella. In the U.K., that umbrella has been all but folded up by the regulators, leaving competitors out in the wet.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
 
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  11:28 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]





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