AT&T Yellow Pages announced a new research strategy yesterday that includes a phase-out of its participation in the current industry syndicated usage program, though the publisher will continue to follow a syndicated methodology and make results available.
AT&T will continue participating in the current syndicated usage program operated by Knowledge Networks/SRI in 2008 (which AT&T described as a “transition year”), measuring 30 markets, compared with 58 measured in 2007. AT&T will simultaneously begin its measurement through M/A/R/C this year.
According to the release, AT&T is working with M/A/R/C Research to develop a new research package that will measure 275 directory areas (comprising about 75 percent of revenue) with three research elements, call tracking, proprietary usage research (print and IYP) and a syndicated component. By “syndicated,” AT&T means, “markets will be pre-announced and have same-day release from M/A/R/C Research.”
This decision is clearly not very good news for Knowledge Networks, which also recently lost the Internet component of the Industry Usage Study, conducted on behalf of the Yellow Pages Association.
One interesting element of the new approach is the emphasis on call tracking. AT&T’s recent acquisition of Ingenio underscores the importance AT&T believes call measurement will have going forward. In addition, call measurement data gets to the heart of the value of Yellow Pages, so elevating its importance in the research package would appear to make sense.
AT&T says results from the M/A/R/C studies will be available beginning in 2009.