Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Yellow Media CEO to Continue Making the Directories Publisher a Digital Company

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Yellow Media CEO to Continue Making the Directories Publisher a Digital Company

Article excerpt

Yellow Media introduces its new CEO

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MONTREAL - Yellow Media is aiming to get as many people as possible searching its online sites, such as Yellow Pages, as it continues to move beyond print directories and become a digital company, new chief executive Julien Billot said Friday.

"The objective is always the same -- grow the audience because basically what you want to provide advertisers is a return on investment," Billot told analysts as he briefly sketched out the company's strategy.

While he didn't go into detail, Billot said that means Yellow Media's digital services have to respond to "key marketing trends" and be relevant to businesses.

Billot, a French digital media executive with more than 20 years experience, takes over the challenge of continuing the transformation of Yellow Media while competing with big search engines Google, Yahoo and Bing as well as small digital companies to attract consumers who are using tablets, laptops and smartphones to search for products and services.

Billot, expects the process to take time while he instills an "overall digital culture" in the Montreal company.

The company has already expanded from business listings to digital services, including producing videos, building websites and Facebook pages for small- and medium-sized businesses. That's a long way from its beginnings in 1908 when it printed its first directory and was still part of Bell Canada.

"To succeed in its digital transformation, Yellow Media's marketing solutions need to provide better return on investment relative to its digital marketing peers," Billot said.

He also didn't rule out acquisitions to expand Yellow Media's online presence.

"You need the biggest audience you can get."

Yellow Media (TSX:Y) has said that 43 per cent of its revenues are from digital services and has been aiming to raise that to 50 per cent. The Yellow Pages print directory is still offered, but consumers in major markets can opt out of receiving it.

Canaccord Genuity analyst Aravinda Galappatthige said Yellow Media is quickly coming to its "crossover point" where half of its revenues will come from online. …

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