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We just posted a Client Inquiry Brief summarizing the French publisher PagesJaunes’ first-half results. In reviewing the document, one thing jumps out. The publisher’s otherwise solid first half was diminished by a decline in print revenues, this for a company that has been consistently growing print. The reason? Soft sales in the Ile-de-France region, which is dominated by Paris, as well as in some provincial cities. The publisher plans to combat the problem with more distribution and a 2008 price reduction in Paris. I imagine it is one of the few things getting less expensive in that city.

This is just one more data point underscoring the challenges directory publishers face in large metro markets. This is true of France, the United States and developed directory markets around the world. The Kelsey Group’s ongoing “Euro View” research into user attitudes toward various local information sources has highlighted lower usage of print directories in big cities. And certainly any directory publishing executive will tell you, privately if not publicly, that big cities are a big challenge.

The Kelsey Report is in the process of researching this topic for an upcoming Advisory, and we’re conducting an online poll of executives with direct involvement in this issue. If you are immersed in the challenge of managing large markets and would like to weigh in, send me an e-mail ( and I will provide you with a link to the survey.

We will also share our findings on this topic in a session at the upcoming DDC 2007 event in Reston, Virginia. The session is called Opportunity or Meltdown? Can Publishers Win Back Big City Users and Advertisers?

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