It’s nothing new to observe that big markets are disproportionately important to Yellow Pages publishers and that they are often the most in distress. The recent spate of nine-month conference calls among European directory publishers has reinforced this point and raised the question of how publishers can stanch the bleeding in their biggest and most profitable markets.
Notably, Eniro, Seat and TPI each revealed that one way or another they are having trouble generating growth in top markets. In fact, most of their biggest markets are in the red, and one of the key culprits is higher churn rates among large accounts.
Our question is: Is this the canary in the coal mine? Or can publishers address these issues through product tweaks and adjustments to how sales are segmented, etc.? My sense is that with a lot of work, publishers can soften the blow and minimize the declines. But major markets all over the world are now battlegrounds for so many competitive media, digital and traditional, that publishers need to develop a realistic set of expectations going forward.
We will offer some details of this topic later this week in Local Media Journal.