Yellow Pages to test 'opt-in' model for city apartments video

Tom Pullar-Strecker/FAIRFAX NZ

Yellow believes it has a bright future.

The Yellow and White Pages won't be delivered to apartment units in the three main centres unless people ask for them, if a trial in Wellington proves popular.   

The partial step towards an "opt-in" system for the directories could later be extended to office buildings and follows a decision by Yellow to axe 10 of its local editions.

But Yellow's interim chief executive Darren Linton said the company's business plan was to return to revenue and profit growth within three years, as its digital business grew and new services came on stream.

Printed directories accounted for 60 per cent of its sales – or $56 million – in the year to June. But Linton forecast that would drop to 25 per cent within three years.

In another sign of the way traditional advertising has been turned on its head by the internet, burger company Wendy's announced it was buying space on "virtual" billboards, bus shelters and TV screens that appear in computer games.

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Digital "real world" adverts for Wendy's Baconater bacon hamburgers will appear in Xbox, PlayStation 4 and Steam games from Monday, in what the company believed was a first for a New Zealand brand.

Printed directories accounted for $56m of Yellow's total revenues of $94.5m in the year to June.

Printed directories accounted for $56m of Yellow's total revenues of $94.5m in the year to June.

"We know gamers fit into our target market and saw this as a new way to get our message across to a hard-to-reach audience," Wendy's NZ chief executive Danielle Lendich said.

Yellow's revenues slipped slightly to just under $95m in the year to the end of June, Linton said, down from $158m in its last publicly reported result, which was for the year to June 2014.

All versions of the Yellow Pages are now combined with the White Pages in a single directory.

Linton said when the next edition was published in Wellington in late October, Yellow would deliver leaflets or cards to apartment units informing residents they could go to its website to order a print copy if they still wanted one.

"We are going to start with apartment buildings and then look at office buildings, and then roll that out if it works well into Auckland and Christchurch," he said. 

"The thinking is there are a higher proportion of people in apartments in the cities who are younger and more likely to want to use a digital solution." 

Wendy's billboard within a game - only the burgers are real.

Wendy's billboard within a game - only the burgers are real.

Yellow would also make it simpler for anyone to "opt-out" of receiving a directory from September, by reducing the steps involved.  

One reason people might want to search Yellow online, rather than "Google" for goods and services, was that only about half of Yellow's New Zealand clients had their own websites, Linton said.

Earlier this year Yellow began offering people Fly Buys points as rewards when they posted ratings or reviews of businesses on its website.

That had helped it garner 60,000 reviews to add to its business listings.

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But Yellow, which employs about 300 staff, had also become one of Google's largest New Zealand advertising partners by helping thousands of businesses set up Google Adwords campaigns, Linton said. 

"That's a growing part of our business and a big part of our strategy. Google is a business that we are better to partner with and find ways to complement rather than compete with."

A new initiative, Yellow Move, lets people provide details if they are moving home, with Yellow guaranteeing all their utilities will be live on they day. 

 - Stuff


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