Results released on July 27 show that while its revenues are still sharply negative, U.S. directory publisher SuperMedia found signs of hope in an improving ad sales trend in the second quarter. Ad sales declined 16.9 percent in the second quarter, versus 20.6 percent in Q1. Second-quarter ad sales reflect sales made in late 2009 and early 2010.
The company also highlighted a number of product innovations to underscore its confidence that improvements will continue. Chief among these was the introduction of QR codes on SuperMedia’s print directories and direct mail product. The codes direct consumers to SuperPages.com, where they can download the SuperPages mobile app and register for the SuperGuarantee program. The direct mail QR codes lead to a coupon page on SuperPages.com.
“We continue to be encouraged by what we are seeing in the business as reflected in second quarter results, despite the fact that the overall economic climate remains uncertain,” said SuperMedia CEO Scott Klein, in a prepared statement accompanying the release of the second-quarter and first-half results.
Operating revenues for the first half declined by 21.1 percent to US$1,045 million. SuperMedia no longer breaks out print vs. online sales. BIA/Kelsey estimates that in 2009, SuperMedia generated roughly 11 percent of total revenues from online.
Other items of note from the earnings call:
* SuperMedia has named a new chairman of the board. Doug Wheat has replaced Tom Rogers, who was interim chairman.
* The company has introduced some new print products and formats, including changes in font sizes to improve readability and new display ad formats.
* Calls per metered line grew by 11.6 percent in Q2, and calls per quarter column equivalent grew by 14.9 percent. By contrast, both measures showed declines in Q4 2009.
It’s first-half earnings season. We’re interested to see if other publishers show any sign that the nose is coming up on the rate of revenue decline.