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Directory Publishing

Directory Publishing

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Executive summary

The fall of the Database and Directory Publishing industry over the five years to 2022 has been driven by the sustained migration from print to digital advertising, as the industry historically generated the majority of its revenue from the sale of advertisement space in printed publications. Print advertising expenditure, which drives demand for advertising space in directories, is expected to fall at an annualized rate of 12.2% over the five years to 2022.
Forced to focus on digital presence, the industry has experienced even more intense competition from online search engines and social media platforms, limiting the industry's digital advertisement sales. As a result, over the five years to 2022, industry revenue is expected to erode at an annualized rate of 8.0% to $3.7 billion, including a projected drop of 4.5% in 2022, as the industry continues to struggle in the wake of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
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industry revenue;

industry profit;

industry margin;

industry employment;

industry major players;

industry key external drivers;

industry product & structure segmentation;

industry key trends;

industry Life Cycle;

industry Geographic Breakdown;

industry Key Success Factors;

industry Key statistics for previous years;

forecast of industry Key statistics for the next 5 years;

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Reference Wordlist

High barriers to entry mean that new companies struggle to enter an industry, while low barriers mean it is easy for new companies to enter an industry.

Compares the amount of money spent on capital (plant, machinery and equipment) with that spent on labor.
IBISWorld uses the ratio of depreciation to wages as a proxy for capital intensity. High capital intensity is more than $0.333 of capital to $1 of labor; medium is $0.125 to $0.333 of capital to $1 of labor; low is less than $0.125 of capital for every $1 of labor.

The dollar figures in the Key Statistics table, including forecasts, are adjusted for inflation using the current year (i.e. year published) as the base year. This removes the impact of changes in the purchasing power of the dollar, leaving only the "real" growth or decline in industry metrics. The inflation adjustments in IBISWorld’s reports are made using the US Bureau of Economic Analysis’ implicit GDP price deflator.

Spending on industry goods and services within the United States, regardless of their country of origin. It is derived by adding imports to industry revenue, and then subtracting exports.

Colloquial Terminology

A directory without ties to a telephone operating company.

Directories that alphabetically list the names, addresses and phone numbers of residential, professional and business phone customers.

Directories that list businesses according to the product or service they provide.


Demand for printed directories has all but vanished over the past five years, as institutional clients and consumers have continued their shift to convenient online resources. Declining demand for print advertising has curbed industry revenue, and growth in online revenue has only slightly mitigated this downturn due to the sheer scale of digital advertising competitors. Additionally, this transition has pressured industry profitability and participation, as operators have been forced to lower advertising prices in both print and digital formats to compete. Remaining operators have cut labor costs to protect the industry's average profit margin, causing both employment and wages to fall sharply.

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