Amused by a Yellow Pages poster that recently appeared at the top of my street:
There's something faintly admirable in the brazenness of pitching the fundamental structural collapse of your core business as a benefit. Let's take a brief glance at the numbers behind "the new compact Yellow Pages".
Between 2009 and 2010 (pdf) Yell's UK printed directory revenues (thus, from Yellow Pages) fell c20% from c£500m to c£400m. Total number of print advertisers fell 14.4% from 390k to 335k; the number of different directories published fell from 113 to 105; advertiser retention rate slipped fractionally from 73% to 72% (despite an explicit strategic focus on customer retention); and revenue per advertiser fell 5.5% from £1,293 to £1,222. A more recent half-year release (pdf) from last week shows total revenues for the group down 8.9% for the first half of the(ir financial) year but doesn't break out region or medium. Ars Technica also reported last week that in the US, White Pages providers are seeking permission to stop providing White Pages, which is a less than rosy sign for the print directories industry. In summary, the print business, while facing some fairly obvious cyclical challenges as well, is mostly challenged by a structural collapse as its legacy gateway monopoly gets the now-familiar run-around from a plethora of much cheaper options online.
Hence, one must assume, "the new compact Yellow Pages". When your advertisers numbers are falling at a rate of 14% a year your ad-supported directory product is indeed going to get a lot smaller. But it's still a bit odd to gloat about the fact on a billboard.