France’s PagesJaunes has long been the dominant player in the country’s print directory market, but in recent quarters, what was a growing business now is struggling to generate positive revenue growth. Online, however, continues to be a strong suit for PagesJaunes, and its experience points to some key differences between some European markets, where IYPs are often among the most-used sites, and the U.S., where incumbent publishers’ position online is far weaker than it is in print.
Through nine months of 2007, PagesJaunes’ online operations in France generated revenues of 252.4 million euros, a 23 percent growth rate. This does not include Minitel, a legacy closed system online service that is being effectively phased out by France Telecom.
The mainstay of PagesJaunes’ online business, pagesjaunes.fr (which launched a new version in September), showed a 17 percent increase in unique visitors in September (compared with September 2006) to 10.9 million unique visitors. Citing data from Nielsen/NetRatings, PagesJaunes claims 42.1 percent reach for its IYP, which the publisher says makes the site among France’s most visited and the most visited IYP in Europe.
By contrast the print business declined 0.6 percent through nine months, to 477.8 million euros, with White Pages decreasing 2.6 percent and Yellow Pages down just 0.1 percent. The publisher expects improvement in the fourth quarter to bring revenues roughly to their 2006 level.