Yellow Pages Get Their 'Nielsens,' Unveil New Ratings Service

TV's got its Nielsens. Radio's got the Arbitrons. Magazines have their MRIs. Now the Yellow Pages Industry has its YPMRs. The acronym, which stands for Yellow Pages Market Reporter, the first syndicated, third-party audience measurement service for Yellow Pages agencies, advertisers and publishers, has wrapped up a benchmark study for 2005, and announced plans to Wednesday to repeat it annually beginning this year.

The study, which was conducted by Yellow Pages research expert Knowledge Networks/SRI, is based on in-depth interviews with 75,000 Yellow Pages users, in 125 geographic regions and 161 discrete directory distribution areas.

The new ratings service, which was backed by 10 major Yellow Pages and directory publishers, has signed up 12 Yellow Pages agencies, or so-called CMRs (certified marketing representatives), including: Berry Network, Inc.; CommNet Marketing, Inc.; Cramer Krasselt; DAC Group; DCG Yellow Pages, Inc.; Hurrelbrink Advertising, Inc.; Ketchum Directory Advertising; Nationwide Yellow Pages; SMG Directory Marketing; TMP Directory Marketing; Wahlstrom Group; and YPM, Inc.



It's "a huge step forward for our industry," said Blanche McGuire, senior vice president and director of marketing strategy at Ketchum. "For the first time in years, national advertisers and agencies will have the credible data they need to make directory decisions."

Bob Lamb, executive vice president-business planning, at Wahlstrom, agreed, saying the data fills an important missing link for media planners and buyers, giving them the numbers they need to assess and post Yellow Pages buys.

Bill Duggan, executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers, noted that it is ironic that other major media have had credible ratings, but that Yellow Pages have been the only one operating without viable syndicated research.

In fact, several other media have made significant inroads in advancing or developing new audience research methods to improve their accountability, including the outdoor media industry, the point-of-purchase media industry, and shortly, the radio industry.

But Duggan described the initial YPMR release as a good start, noting that marketers would like to see the service expanded to other markets. It's "only a somewhat limited section of markets being covered," he said, adding that it nonetheless would help give the directory medium "a better seat at the table."

The 2005 study represent 30 percent of the total U.S. adult population and 45 percent of consumers located in A and B county areas.

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