Norway to Say Good-bye to the Big Yellow Book
On Thursday’s Q4 and full-year 2011 earnings call, Eniro announced that it will phase out its print Gula Sider (Yellow Pages) directory in Norway, leaving only local directories as a print product choice in the Nordic country with a population of 4 million.
The move is yet another sign that the core Yellow Pages directory is nearing the end of its natural life in some of Europe’s more densely populated and digitally advanced markets. In December, European Directories shuttered the print operations of its Gule Sider (Yellow Pages) operation in Denmark and sold its online assets to Eniro.
This move shouldn’t come as a huge surprise given the rapid migration of directory revenues from print to digital, particularly in large markets like Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen, where declines in usage and revenues have been steep in recent years.
BIA/Kelsey forecasts that print will account for just 40 percent of Nordic revenues in 2011, and barely 20 percent in 2015.
Eniro will continue to publish its local directories product in Norway, called Ditt Distrikt, in 74 smaller communities around Norway. There was no word given on the fate of the Gula Sidorna (Yellow Pages) directory in Sweden, Eniro’s largest market.
For the full year 2011, Eniro reported group revenues of SEK4.3 billlion, a decline of nearly 19 percent, though the organic decline was a more manageable 11 percent. Adjusted EBITDA was SEK1.1 billion.
Poland, once one of Eniro’s more stable markets, experienced a dramatic 44 percent revenue decline in 2011. Another troubling sign for Eniro was very modest 1 percent organic-only growth in its core Scandinavian markets. However, the company is maintaining its guidance to return to growth in 2012.
BIA/Kelsey will have a more complete rundown of full-year 2011 results in an upcoming Advisory.
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I suspect that we will be seeing this headline quite regularly over the next 12 months.
Who will be next to close down their print divisions? Sensis? Yellow Media?
I don’t see a company the size of Sensis or Yellow Media shuttering its print operation any time soon. Downsizing, rescoping, shutting down underperforming titles? All on the table at any publisher these days. Even Eniro Norway has not completely shuttered its print business. It will continue to publish local directories, though for how long we don’t know.