January 23, 2004

The major U.S. incumbent publishers, under revenue and usage pressure particularly in their largest markets, are increasingly turning to Spanish-language directories as a means for reversing the negative tide. Verizon Information Services, Dex Media and BellSouth Advertising & Publishing Corp. have been particularly aggressive in this area. In addition, a number of small specialized publishers are finding a niche offering community-oriented Spanish-language directories. These companies tend to have much smaller distribution and focus on their grassroots ties to the local Hispanic community.

The leading independent publishers, including Yellow Book USA, TransWestern and White Directory Publishers, have tended to shy away from offering Spanish-language books, leaving the field to the incumbents and niche players. The rationale for launching Spanish-language books is clear: The U.S. Hispanic population is expected to top 40 million by 2010. What is less clear is whether directories in Spanish – either co-bound or stand-alone – are the answer to reversing declines, particularly in large ethnically diverse markets.

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