(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Sat, 2 Sept 2017) London, Uk – –
The Yellow Pages will stop printing from January 2019 after more than five decades, its owner Yell has announced.
Yell has taken the decision to fully digitise the business, ending the publication’s 51-year run. The first of the 104 final editions will be distributed in Kingston in January 2018, and the last will be sent out a year later in Brighton, where it was first published in 1966.
The company will print 23m copies of the final editions, which Yell hopes will become a souvenir.
Richard Hanscott, CEO of Yell said: ‘‘After 51 years in production Yellow Pages is a household name and we’re proud to say that we still have customers who’ve been with us from the very first Yellow Pages edition in 1966. How many brands can say they’ve had customers with them for over 50 years?”
The publication became famous for its advertisements, including the “JR Hartley” campaign in the 1980s and the “French Polisher”.
It was a vital tool for finding service providers and tradespeople, but the rise of social media and Google have reduced demand for printed directories.
Yell, part of Hibu Group, says it aspires to “help a million businesses be found, chosen and trusted by more customers online by 2020”.
Instead of the Yellow Pages, Yell will offer a free listing to businesses on yell.com.
“Like many businesses, Yell has found that succeeding in digital demands constant change and innovation,” Hanscott continued. “We’re well placed to continue to help local businesses and consumers be successful online, both now and in the future.’’
In recent years, the directory has caused environmental concerns, prompting the launch of the Say No to Phonebooks campaign in 2009, which called for an “opt-in” scheme whereby only those who want these directories left by their door would receive them.
At the time, the Yell Group, then maker of Yellow Pages, maintained it was “among the most sustainable companies in the world,” adding: “Our directories are produced in an environmentally responsible way and are 100% recyclable. In common with other members of the Data Publishers Association, we maintain an opt-out scheme that enables consumers to choose not to receive a directory.”
The Yellow Pages telephone directory came about in 1883 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, when a printer producing a directory ran out of white paper and used yellow instead. The first Yellow Pages publication was formed three years later.
In the UK in 1966, the Post Office first launched the directory, which later became part of British Telecom.
The Business Pages was launched in the mid 1980s when British Telecom was privatised by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government, growing in popularity with a series of funny adverts.
The group launched the first electronic delivery of classified directory information in 1987 alongside Talking Pages.
With the rise of the internet, Yell launched yell.co.uk in 1996, offering transactions on the site a year later.
BT sold the Yellow Pages for £2.1bn in 2001 to private equity companies, subsequently launching a new telephone service and bringing the number of Yellow Pages published to 102.
By Patrick Greenfield