paidContent 50: The world’s most successful digital media companies

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49. Yell Group

Classifieds, United Kingdom (Public)

Last year’s rank: #31

Digital Content Revenue

$723,770,000 (28% of total)

Digital Snapshot

“Let your fingers do the walking,” the Yellow Pages publisher used to say, back when the slab-sized tome was the go-to directory for finding local business listings. Yell has tried to replicate its print place online through Yell.com, YellowBook.com and mobile apps, but has gone on losing local business searchers to search engines and, now, location-based check-in and review services. The same economic downturn that has hit local business advertising spending in print even dented Yell’s digital efforts last year, when its digital directories sales dipped by 11 percent.

Key Move

Yell is rebooting. A new CEO Michael Pocock hired MSN’s Scott Moore as chief digital officer, opening new digital offices in Seattle and refocusing on providing customers marketing services like website creation and SEO, rather than just plain-old listings. Yell built 337,000 of those sites in 2011, with a 112 percent growth in digital services revenue helping to hold overall digital sales up at nearly a third of the total. Now Yell wants to disconnect from the past, rebranding as “Hibu” – a name it acknowledges means absolutely nothing.

Our Methodology

Digital directories revenue of £111.2 plus digital services revenue of £72.0 million from across operating countries.

Source: Annual results

— RA

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