Idearc Media, which exited bankruptcy on Dec. 31, has changed its name to SuperMedia LLC, as part of an effort to start on a fresh course post-bankruptcy. The restructured company now trades on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol SPMD.
In a recent briefing with BIA/Kelsey analysts, SuperMedia CEO Scott Klein talked about how the business has changed over the past 12 to 18 months and how the company plans to use the opportunity bankruptcy has provided — it has US$7 billion less debt than before it filed — to build a sustainable local media business.
Here are some highlights from our call with Klein, which we will address in greater detail this week in a Kelsey Report Advisory:
- Shifting to a consumer-orientation has been key to the turnaround strategy. By doing so, Klein believes SuperMedia will drive more advertiser value.
- Klein believes there is a strong foundation for print usage. He concedes a shift to online, but believes it is mostly new users, while existing traditional users remain loyal to the book.
- The Super Guarantee has been successful in driving consumer engagement with the SuperPages brand. How that translates into sales will not be known until this year.
- In order to improve online sales results, SuperMedia has shifted to a fixed fee plus guaranteed results pricing model. The previous approach, which emphasized pay for performance, did not work. Klein says pay for performance is appropriate only forÂ about 15 percent to 20 percent of the customer base.
- When asked about ReachLocal in light of that company’s recent IPO announcement, Klein said his view has changed. “If you asked me that 18 months ago, I would have said they were a competitor.” Now, Klein believes ReachLocal is a strong potential partner to resell SuperMedia products.
- SuperMedia has high hopes that its EveryCarListed auto vertical will help it re-engage with the auto category, which Klein concedes has “all but abandoned the Yellow Pages.”
- Print direct marketing is a core focus of SuperMedia’s business. However, Klein said there is a limit to the number of products the company will put into its sales reps’ bag. For this reason, he was lukewarm at best on e-mail marketing as a product extension.