The company that makes the once ubiquitous yellow-tinted telephone directory says it will phase out home delivery of its eponymous book in some parts of Canada starting immediately.
Montreal-based Yellow Pages Ltd. says Brampton, Mississauga and Oakville, three Ontario communities west of Toronto, are the first to see the end of home delivery. Other communities in select neighbourhoods may follow in the next year to a year-and-a-half as the company evaluates its business.
But it's not the end of the Yellow Pages book quite yet.
The company says it will use other ways to distribute paper directories in the affected areas, including street-level boxes and distribution racks in public areas and will continue its shift towards more use of digital and Internet forms of publication.
Yellow Pages traces its roots back to 1908 in Canada, when a division of Bell Canada thought it would be useful to print a directory of all the phone numbers in regions across the country.
Advertisers were eager to have their names listed in the book, and the business was a cash cow for decades.
Company loses as internet gains hold
After listing on the TSX, in 2003, the company converted to an income trust, an ideal structure to transfer all those stable ad revenues directly to shareholders.
But the business model soon fell on tough times as the internet changed the way consumers searched for information, including contacts such as phone numbers.
Through 2011 and 2012, the company shares lost more than 90 per cent of their value. But after restructuring in 2012 and relisting, Yellow Media Inc. shares have tripled in value since the start of 2013.
The company also owns digital properties including YellowPages.ca and Canada411.ca., which according to the company latest earnings, already make up more than half of of the company's revenue.