The Independent Directory drew its last breath on Friday. In a statement IN&M said it was ‘restructuring’ and that the book would be printed on a two year cycle instead – which is highly doubtful if you are laying off all your staff.
But the book/business was always on the back foot. The market is dominated by the Golden Pages and the Directory never really managed to break the hold the GP had. 2009 saw a sharp decline in the business sectors where the Directory took most of its advertising and this was, seemingly, the final nail in the coffin for the business.
It had always been a ‘poorly’ child and it never really managed to get the momentum needed to make it a (consistently) profitable business. At best it got the odd few years of forward traction, mainly it spun its wheels and latterly its trajectory was backwards. The businesses (for a myriad of different reasons) never fully ‘did’ the internet side of the equation that was left up to another business in the group “Your Local”.
And never the twain shall meet. Your Local and the Directory were both part of the same group, in the same business arena (directional advertising) and chased roughly the same clients – but had absolutely nothing to do with each other. No shared resources, no shared information, no cross sell – nothing. All the two businesses would have done was replicate each other. Whether there is a need/want for a printed directory any more is debateable.
There is a massive need for the information, but not necessarily in print. They had one massive commodity – information. They gathered it and harvested it and stored it. If print wasn’t the future, then perhaps a leap of faith to, say, mobile may have saved a skin or two.