Yellow Pages to end home-delivery of print directories in some areas

MONTREAL – The maker of the once ubiquitous telephone directory is beginning to drop home delivery in some Canadian communities.

Yellow Pages said it is reviewing about 300 markets where delivery could end for some high-rise buildings, streets or neighbourhoods. The directories would instead be distributed with its other free publications in racks at grocery stores, pharmacies or newspaper-style boxes.

“The majority of the areas will still get a door-to-door delivery but we’re really targeting areas where we see very low print usage,” said spokesman Fiona Story.

The first communities to face changes are west of Toronto in Brampton, Mississauga and Oakville, Ont.

Yellow Pages (TSX:Y) said it will evaluate other areas during the next 12 to 18 months. The next areas under consideration are Lethbridge, Alta., and the Ontario municipalities of Cambridge, Elmira, Fergus, Guelph, Hawkesbury and Kitchener-Waterloo.

Story couldn’t say how much the company would save with the changes.

The Montreal-based company is continuing to shift towards more use of digital and Internet publications, which account for more than half its revenue. But Yellow Pages says its print directories are useful for small businesses and customers who use a variety of sources to find people and services.

“It’s part of our overall offering, so it’s by no means going away. This is about making sure that the model evolves,” Story said.

She said some parts of the country may not experience any changes. The Atlantic provinces, for example, have very high use of printed directories.

Yellow Media announced in November that it was on track to return to growth by 2018 after the majority of its revenues in the third quarter come from digital for the first time.

It credited much of the increase in digital came from the migration of its print customers plus the addition of new customers, who principally buy digital offerings.

Yellow Media, which has about 2,900 employees across Canada, has survived a difficult restructuring over the last few years that has resulted in several layoffs.

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