According to the Independent newspaper, British Telecom, apparently swayed by the rapid adoption of free directory assistance in the United States, plans to roll out an ad-supported DA service this year.
The decision seems to be driven by a belief that DA products, now supported by call-based revenues, will inevitably move to an ad-supported model.
“Directory assistance is going free. If the timing is right, take-up will be very quick,” said Nigel Stagg, head of BT Enterprises, quoted by the Independent. The newspaper also quoted Stagg that BT must make sure the advertising is not intrusive and is relevant to the consumer. “We can’t make a pig’s ear of it.”
Yell, BT’s main rival in the U.K. directory business, currently offers DA through a blended model (118 24 7), with both call and ad-generated revenues. Yell has not announced any plans to adopt the free DA model that BT will pursue, but if BT has any success, we expect it may lead Yell to consider following suit.