Worldwide Yellow Pages Industry Grows to $100 Billion

The worldwide yellow page industry continues to grow in market value, with digital formats accounting for most of the increase. An annual report, “Global Yellow Pages 2005: The Kelsey Group‘s Outlook & Forecast,” puts the value in excess of $100 billion.

The report looks at both digital and traditional print versions of yellow pages, and forecasts more future growth in digital formats. “In 2004, The Kelsey Group estimates the worth of the global directional media market to be $28.9 billion,” said Bobbi Loy-Luster, analyst and report co-author. “Of that, $26.1 billion is from traditional directional media or Yellow Pages, and about $2.7 billion is from digital directional media.”

Diversity may help push online versions of the yellow pages, though forecasts expect the traditional format to remain strong. “Print Yellow Pages will continue to make up the majority of revenues by 2009, but the digital component, which includes Internet Yellow Pages, local search and wireless directory searches, will make up a much greater portion of total global directional media revenues. In 2009, The Kelsey Group estimates the global directional media revenues will total just over US$39 billion, of which digital will make up about 28 percent of revenues,” said Loy-Luster.

Global Yellow Pages Industry Leaders, 2004
Rank Country Gross Domestic Product (est., $ billions) Directory Market Revenues ($ millions) Directory Revenues as Percentage of GDP (%)
1 Finland 151.2 265.4 0.18
2 Sweden 255.4 437.1 0.17
3 Australia 611.7 974.6 0.16
4 New Zealand 92.5 144.9 0.16
5 Norway 183 264.1 0.14
6 United States 1,175 14,964 0.13
7 Denmark 174.4 223.5 0.13
8 Canada 958 896 0.09
9 Italy 1,610 1,469 0.09
10 Portugal 188.7 172.8 0.09
Source: The Kelsey Group, 2005

The breakdown of major directory publishers spans the globe. Four of the 10 largest yellow pages players are US-based. SBC Directory Operations reports revenues of $3.8 billion; Verizon Information Services at $3.6 billion; BellSouth Advertising & Publishing earns $1.9 billion; and Dex Media’s estimated annual revenues are $1.6 billion. U.K.-based Yell Group reports earnings of $2.2 billion, and Italian directory publisher Seat Pagine Gialle earns $1.7 billion annually. Japan’s NTT Directory Operations, PagesJaunes (Total Group) from France, Sensis Pty. Ltd. of Australia, and Telefonica Publicidad e Informacion Group in Spain also rank in the top 10.

Largest Global Yellow Pages Publishers, 2004
Rank Directory Publisher Headquarters Country Estimated 2004 Directory Revenues
($ millions)
1 SBC Directory Operations (SBCDO) United States 3,759
2 Verizon Information Services United States 3,615
3 Yell Group United Kingdom 2,158
4 BellSouth Advertising & Publishing (BAPCO) United States 1,878
5 Seat Pagine Gialle Italy 1,736
6 Dex Media United States 1,649
7 NTT Directory Operations Japan 1,455
8 PagesJaunes (Total Group) France 1,214
9 Sensis Pty. Ltd. Australia 1,007
10 Telefonica Publicidad e Informacion Group Spain 751
Source: The Kelsey Group, 2005

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