The Yellow Pages business directory in the U.K., published by Yell Group, will stop printing as of January 2019. Printed Yellow Pages directories, which launched in the U.K. in 1966 and publishes 104 local editions, will become online-only in an attempt to update the brand and move its business online.
The Yellow Pages’ parent company had a rocky few years trying to transition from print to digital. In 2012 Yell Group, which owns Yellow Pages, rebranded as Hibu. Two years later, following financial difficulties, it went back to being Yell. According to the Independent, the change was an attempt to capitalize on consumer recognition for Yell and minimize the connection with Hibu, which had defaulted on £2 billion in debt.
Yell.com is now listed on HibuGroup.com as Hibu’s “consumer search website” for the U.K..
Since 2014, Yell has continued to publish the Yellow Pages in print and online. Yell.com is currently running a campaign urging businesses to “advertise in the final editions of the U.K.’s No. 1 printed classified directory”. It suggests the print edition will “be retained by local users for many years” and effectively targets older and rural audiences. Apart from that, the main incentive is an offer to “combine your Yellow Pages advertising with digital advertising”.
Yell CEO Richard Hanscott said to Financial Times, “we’re proud to say that we still have customers who’ve been with us from the very first Yellow Pages edition in 1966”.
Going forward, the company will focus on bringing as many businesses and their customers online as possible.
To that end, Yell will offer a suite of business services, including free listings on Yell.com for print advertisers; building and managing websites; managing AdWords campaigns; and social media marketing. According to the FT, Yell hopes to “help” one million small businesses to get online by 2020.