One of the most significant announcements in the past year about the Yellow Pages business was made by PagesJaunes. In order to get in front of the faster migration from print to online that is occurring in France’s major cities, the publisher reduced print advertising rates in Paris by 20 percent in 2008. Overall print directory revenues in France were essentially flat in 2007, while online service revenues grew 15.1 percent. This traces primarily to Pagesjaunes.fr, which averaged 10.7 million unique visitors per month in 2007, an increase of 22 percent, the sixth most visited site in France.
One notable figure here is that print Yellow Pages and White Pages together account for only about 61 percent of total PagesJaunes revenues in France. We expect print to increase in coming years due to an announcement that was made this week under the headline, “Lawyers are allowed to advertise in the Yellow Pages, says the French Supreme Court.”
From Advertising|France (Tues. 25/03/2008):
“In a judgment of 6 December 2007, the French legal Supreme Court (“Cour de Cassation”) has recognized the right for lawyers to advertise in the Yellow Pages. This has been done against the judgment of the Appeal Court from Bourges (second instance court) who had stated that “an advertisement in the Yellow Pages, be it on paper or on the Internet, was contrary to lawyers’ professional rules.
“The judgment of the Cour de Cassation paves the way for new possibilities for advertisements for regulated professions in the Yellow Pages.”
In the U.S., the attorney category accounted for 9 percent of publishers’ total print revenues in 2005. The opportunity for other “regulated professions” to begin advertising both in print and online offers PagesJaunes strong potential for growth. At the same time, the company anticipates its online share will continue to grow and projects that its margins will also be higher.
It appears that Yellow Pages in France continues to be a very healthy business. In the past two years, PagesJaunes’ number of total advertisers has grown 7.5 percent, and its retention rate is strong at 86 percent. PagesJaunes, like Yellow Pages Group and other Yellow Pages publishers, has shown that this can be a growth business.