The Yellow Pages, the most trusted brand among ready buyers—and the advertisers who want to reach them—all over the world, came to Philippine shores 55 years ago. It was introduced to the country by the local branch of GTE Directories Corporation (GTE/DC), subsidiary of the American firm that had majority control of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT). GTE/DC came out with the first Manila telephone directory for PLDT in January 1958.
Starting as a section of that “White Pages” (WP) directory, YP gradually grew in volume, depth and reach as Filipino ready buyers grew dependent on the direktoryo for finding goods and services they urgently needed. Not surprisingly, advertisers flocked to the Yellow Pages. Before long, the YP section became thicker than the White Pages. Inevitably, there came a point when the White and Yellow Pages had to be printed in separate books.
When the 1987 Philippine Constitution provision barring wholly-owned foreign corporations from running a media business took effect, GTE Directories (Philippines) Corporation was formed on June 20, 1989 to take over the operations of the American pioneers in the local YP business. The 70% Filipino company was organized primarily to publish telephone directories for PLDT and Pilipino Telephone Company.
On April 6, 1993, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved the name change of the Company to Directories Philippines Corporation (DPC). By August of the same year, GTE/DC (Asia) Ltd. relinquished its 30% share in the company, thus making DPC a wholly-owned Filipino firm.
The following decade would see DPC surge into unprecedented levels of growth, signing agreements to publish over 30 provincial directories in Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao for PLDT and several other telephone companies. In fiscal year 1998, the Company hit record revenues of P1.5 billion.
DPC also co-founded the Asian Directory Publishers Association, Inc. (ADPAI). A non-profit organization with member companies from 20 countries, ADPAI has been serving as a venue for exchanging information and insights on industry developments in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world.
Meanwhile, parallel initiatives started rolling to take advantage of opportunities that new technologies were making possible in the emerging era of the Internet and mobile phones. Foremost among these initiatives was the electronic Yellow Pages (eYP), incubated in a sister company called One Hundred Services, Inc. starting 1999, in anticipation of a gradual migration from print directories to online search engines among new generations of Filipinos looking for goods and services.
By 2007, DPC had made its debut it the mobile search space as well with its LUK4 service. With the advent of social media, the Company quickly established a multi-front presence on Facebook through the networks of DPC, eYP and its sister lifestyle site, juice.ph.
To further enhance the Yellow Pages experience among both users and advertisers, DPC introduced a host of value added services (VAS). These included a free canvassing service, a 24/7 call center, a geo-coded mapping service, concierge services and even a guarantee on the products and services of YP advertisers.
Recent years have seen DPC embarking on strategic partnerships to amplify its competitive advantage.
By teaming up with US-based WebsPlanet, the Company turbo-boosted its eYP Business Showcase offerings for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) needing effective presence on the Web. With YP Powersites, SMEs can now opt to have a professional-looking website, which is automatically optimized for viewing on mobile devices, plus presence on Facebook.
DPC has also been named Google Adwords Premier SME Partner, the highest level of this manner of linkage with the global search giant, in the Philippines. This partnership has expanded the capacity of DPC to make SMEs visible and accessible to more consumers, which might not belong to YP’s staple market of ready buyers.
In a similar vein, the Company is leveraging technical resources to create novel YP advertising platforms for any third party partner with a huge base of customers. A pioneering example is the “Check Load Easy Free” service, powered by the Yellow Pages, for some 60 million prepaid mobile subscribers of SMART Communications. The free service is made possible by cost-efficient, location-specific mobile YP ads that are well-suited to promotional campaigns of big companies with fast-moving consumer goods.
The Company also has long-standing relationships with Yahoo and other content providers to add richness and depth to its online properties. Down the road are partnerships with other strong global brands to bolster YP’s reach in prime vertical markets, as well as its capacity for e-commerce to serve select advertisers.
With all these developments, the Yellow Pages in the Philippines has evolved into a reliable tool for ready buyers in virtually every major customer touch point, online and offline. This, in turn, has spawned a wealth of potential YP advertising and marketing solutions, through which DPC can grow the business of its expanding range of partners.