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Global Yellow Pages: Digital Revenues Overtake Print By 2015

Yellow Pages

Dec. 6, 2011 – Yellow Pages publishers worldwide are gaining traction with new digital products, slightly offsetting declines from the traditional print versions, according to the newly released sixth edition of BIA/Kelsey’s “Global Yellow Pages™” report.

BIA/Kelsey expects revenues from print and online directories to decline globally from $23.4 billion in 2011 to $22.0 billion in 2015, representing a compound annual growth rate of -1.5%.  Print revenues will continue a steady decline for the forecast period, with an expected -11.0% CAGR, which equates to US $6.2 billion in lost revenues. However, a growing number of global Yellow Pages operators are approaching an inflection point where digital growth can offset declines in the traditional product set. BIA/Kelsey believes newer services (websites, video, social, mobile, SEM) rather than established Internet Yellow Pages platforms will be the primary digital growth drivers for directory publishers in the coming years.


“A noteworthy factor of this forecast is the moderating of print declines,” said Global Yellow Pages coauthor Charles Laughlin, senior vice president, program director, BIA/Kelsey. “As print declines flatten out, a shift to digital will be a key to any return to growth. Recent stock market gains by publishers may indicate increasing confidence in publishers’ ability to turn the corner with new digital products.”

By 2015, 53% of global Yellow Pages revenues will be digital, compared with 29% in 2011. Some of the world’s largest directory organizations, including Yell Group and Seat Pagine Gialle, are setting a much more aggressive course, projecting roughly an 80/20 balance of revenues favoring digital by 2015. Markets that are currently or will be majority digital by the end of 2011 include Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Norway and Sweden.


Methodology: The five-year forecast, which is included in the Global Yellow Pages report, reflects all relevant revenues generated by companies in the Yellow Pages industry. Revenues from pure-play companies are not included in this forecast. Wherever possible, non-core revenues are subtracted from this forecast. This includes such lines of business as directory assistance and the sale of marketing lists. Digital Yellow Pages revenue figures comprise all non-print advertising and digital marketing revenues. This includes Internet Yellow Pages, websites, sponsored links, SEM/SEO, video, mobile and other items. This forecast is built on a foundation of actual revenues, gathered through public records, surveys and direct conversations. Revenues are forecast based on an analysis of future trends and company guidance where available.

Source: BIA/Kelsey press release, BIA/Kelsey Estimates 2011 Global Yellow Pages Revenues at $23.4 Billion, December 6, 2011.