Last night, Local Insight Media‘s parent company filed for Chapter 11 protection. In speaking with President and CEO Scott Pomeroy early this morning, it became clear that this is a necessary step in ensuring the business can recapitalize its debt structure in the coming months.
Few followers of the Yellow Pages industry will find today’s announcement to be news. Many industry insiders have been waiting for this to happen as it was clear that economic slowdown coupled with the structural change in the market was going to undermine LIM’s financial strategy.
As Pomeroy said, this event should be transparent to those on the front lines; the company has prepared sales and marketing collateral for advertisers and users, should this become an issue. Speaking of front lines, Pomeroy did say that he’s confident the company’s transition to a customer-centric model is taking shape. Sales reps are now able to have a multi-platform, year-round conversation with customers, and this appears to be helping with customer retention and product growth initiatives.
We talked about the potential and necessity of industry consolidation and that it’s a step toward building greater scale across the YP landscape, reducing costs and offering a more compelling advertiser and consumer value proposition. Scott agreed that consolidation is the logical next step in the evolution of the YP industry here in the U.S. and thought that 12 to 18 months was a reasonable time frame for some of the existing pieces to come together.
In other industry news, Frank Jules will be moving to a different role at AT&T, and Jose Gutierrez will be taking the helm at AT&T Advertising and Publishing. Jules brought great vision to the YP industry and he will no doubt be missed. We wish him success and welcome Gutierrez back to the wild and crazy world of local media.