Yell’s Online Sales Grow But Cautious Advertisers Spending Less; New CEO

Same old story at Yellow Pages’ publisher – online sales are growing, but the larger, print business (and, therefore, the overall pie) is shrinking…

In its latest half-year, profit after tax fell 15.5 percent from last year to £11.8 million, on 8.9 percent less income.

“Our revenues are directly related to the confidence small businesses feel, and small businesses continue to see little evidence of economic recovery, hence their reluctance
to invest in marketing,” CEO John Condron says.

Now the company is planning more cost cuts and is hoping the economy will improve. The real question is – if the economy improves, what kind of shape is Yell in, given it has the twin pressures of a legacy print business and online ad competitors like Google?

Against this backdrop, half-year online revenue grew 10.4 percent from last year to £226.2 million. This growth, coupled with the declining print business, means 25.3 percent of Yell’s income is now online – up from 20.4 percent last year.

Yell is appointing a new CEO from January 1 – Michael Pocock, a former SVP and GM from Cisco’s Linksys home networking division. Here’s the announcement – and there’s not a mention of outgoing Condron, not least an exit “thank-you”. Board chair Bob Wigley writes: ” With the arrival of our new CFO designate and the appointment of Mike, we have the right team in place…”

— At home in the UK, online income grew three percent to £89.9 million, but the printed directories lost 21 percent of their sales, as 16.7 percent of advertisers left, leaving the overall 13.7 percent to £263.6 million. Worryingly, even online, 8.5 percent of advertisers left.

— At Yellowbook in the U.S., online income grew 12.6 percent to $136.6 million (20.8 percent of sales), but print income fell 16.7 percent to $556.7 million, leaving overall sales down 11.9 percent at $703.5 million. 6.4 percent of online advertisers left.