Business of News

A new revenue stream that could be up for grabs

One of newspapers’ main advertising competitors is dead, though they haven’t acknowledged it yet. It’s the various yellow page directories, and the same thing happed to those ubiquitous yellow books that happened to our classified pages: the Internet. But there’s one difference, according to blogger Alan Mutter – newspapers could be in position to benefit from the demise of the yellows. You should read Mutter’s piece and have some serious conversations about it with your ad staff. The bottom line, Mutter says, is that customers won’t trudge through fat books looking up stuff when they can mouseclick their way to better information in seconds. How much is at play here? Mutter says it’s $16.5 billion. And guess who else is looking to cash on the deathwatch of yellow pages? Google, of course. But the blogger reminds us that Google doesn’t have even a fraction of the sales force that we have. And last time I looked, Google didn’t have anybody pounding the pavement in Brady or Dalhart or Corsicana or Mt. Vernon. Advantage, newspapers. Mutter summarizes the opportunity: “If you are a newspaper publisher interested in diversifying away from print while building a valuable, defensible and sustainable digital revenue stream, then it’s time to think about the online directory and web-marketing business.” So be sure to read this blog. And if you’d like to talk with someone about implementing some of these suggestions, call us at the Center.