The cable TV giant Comcast has begun offering a Yellow Pages-branded local search experience via its cable television network. Through the remote, Comcast subscribers can access local business listings through the television remote, and SMBs can have their information listed for as little as $8 a month. The cable company is reportedly offering premium advertising packages with price tags as high as $5,000 a month.
Offering a local search product to consumers in “leaning back” mode might attract advertisers that shy away from cable but are attracted to demand-driven media like Yellow Pages and local search. Think takeout restaurants and local service providers. This is also a medium that as not yet been crowded out by the major search engines. Rival AT&T is also playing in this space with its U-Verse product line, which includes a Yellow Pages application.
Here is what BIA/Kelsey analyst Matt Booth had to say about the Comcast product, in an interview with Forbes.com:
“It’s really too early in the game to know if they’ll succeed with consumers, but marketers are likely to jump in and try it out.”
Comcast has a huge installed base of consumers, with roughly 24 million video subscribers. Comcast has somewhere around 2,000 account execs by our estimation, which is a large sales force. A truly national Yellow Pages sales channel would number around 6,000 to 7,000 reps (think AT&T plus RHD). Comcast generated 2008 revenues of $34.3 billion, and through two quarters of 2009, revenues were up 4.9 percent to $17.7 billion.What Comcast lacks isn’t resources but experience selling directional media and contact with a broad array of categories. Its customer base doesn’t currently include the full array of categories that would find this product appealing, though there is arguably more cable-Yellow Pages category overlap than newspaper-Yellow Pages overlap. The list of competing media to successfully cross over to Yellow Pages is a surprisingly short one, but Comcast has the resources to make a run at this.