Say Goodbye To YellowPages – Hello To Online Video

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yellow_pagesBorrell and Associates released a new report today about the future on Print Yellow Pages titled, “Say Goodbye to Yellow Pages.” with some interesting predictions regarding where revenue will migrate.  According to the report, they estimates that the yellow pages industry will loose almost 40% of their annual revenue over the course of the next 5 years. Guess where the that revenue will go?  Hint – Local Online Video ;-)

In addition, the report predicts that much of this revenue loss as well as market share will migrate to search engine marketing and local online video advertising.  Of the 2, Borrell reports that local online video shows the most promise, with predictions that it will grow from a $1.4 Billion dollar category in 2008 to more than $7.6 Billion dollars in 2013, an increase of more than 500%.

Many of the yellow pages companies and IYPs have braced themselves for this shift and have focused a tremendous amount on getting their sales staffs up-to-speed with regard to selling search engine marketing as well as online video products.

“It has also trained approximately 80% of its on-the-ground sales force – totaling more than 13,000 salespeople – to sell interactive products, going head-to-head with trained newspaper reps also selling online advertising”

Here is the executive summary from the new report which can be found HERE:

“The headline of this report is not so much a prediction of sudden demise as it is a play on a 1998 report by Forrester Research, “Say Goodbye to classifieds.” When that report was published decade ago, the newspaper industry scoffed as its print classifieds continued to overshadow upstart Internet sites. Yet the bottom has fallen out of newspaper classifieds, and in generally the same time frame that we are predicting for print yellow page directories. Since 2001, half of the annual print classifieds spending by car dealers and job recruiters – billions of dollars in annual sales – has dried up. Last year the newspaper industry saw its steepest-ever decline in print classifieds, driven largely by a 23 percent falloff in real estate Classifieds.

The conditions for yellow pages publishers are eerily similar. Print directory revenues have shown stability throughout most of this decade despite the rise of the search engines – the same pre-condition that newspapers saw in the late 1990s with the rise of online classified verticals. The economic trigger – a recession – is now forcing small-business advertisers to be more careful with their ad budgets. Over the next five years, we are predicting that 39 percent of the ad spending on print yellow pages revenues will vanish as small businesses shift marketing budgets online. After 12 years as an advertising medium, the Internet has finally reached small-business owners with viable marketing opportunities in the form of keyword advertising, interactive directories and low-priced online video commercials.

Until now, the key beneficiaries of this shift have been the search engines. But legacy media companies – yellow pages publishers included – have unleashed a newly trained army of local sales people to hunt down this migrating money. Directory publishers have cross trained nearly all their print reps to sell interactive media, while newspaper publishers have launched their own interactive directories and have deployed cross-trained sales troops to sell them. All told, online products are being peddled by 34,100 trained local sales reps – more sales people than any other local medium. With all those reps hawking banners, paid search, interactive directory listings and online video, it is no wonder that local online advertising is increasing at a rate of 61 percent this year, to $14.1 billion.

Yellow pages publishers have spent the past three years transforming their massive on the-ground sales forces into marketing consultants who can meet their customers’ demands both in print and online. Their combined print/online packages are simple, low-priced, one-stop solutions to small-business advertising needs. The proof of the industry’s rapid transformation is in the numbers: Of all local media companies, yellow pages publishers have been the most successful in moving toward digital sales, averaging about 14 percent of their gross revenues from online sales this year. By contrast, the online contribution for most local newspaper, radio, cable and TV competitors is less than 5 percent of gross revenues.

The main battle for the small business ad spending is between the pure-plays, on the one hand, and the two groups with the largest local sales forces: newspapers and directory publishers. Both have feverishly cross-trained their sales forces in the past three years and added “online only” reps to pursue the hottest-selling advertising product in local markets: interactive advertising, including the fastest-growing format of all, online video commercials.”


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