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100 LEADING MEDIA COS.;YELLOW PAGES BOUNCE BACK; BELL SOUTH ON TOP

By Published on .

Yellow pages advertising revenue is edging upward this year as publishers bask in a little post-recession glow.

Total revenue measured $10.24 billion in '95, up 4.2%, but reports for the first half of '96 show revenue advancing 5.7% over the same period a year ago, according to Yellow Pages Publishers Association.

YPPA, representing about 95% of Yellow Pages volume, anticipates this pace will hold for the rest of the year, resulting in a $10.8 billion revenue for the full year.

A BOTTOMING OUT

"Back in 1992, we kind of bottomed out," says Larry Small, VP-marketing services at YPPA. "Since then revenues have slowly but surely gone up. We were slower going into the recession and we were also slower coming out of it."

BellSouth led the pack in '95 with returns at $1.68 billion, up 7.8% from 1994 for a growth higher than most. Hal Hayes, BellSouth media relations manager, says the surge is a mix of changes in accounting procedures and greater volume.

OLYMPICS LINK NOTED

"We've kept our level of growth because the economy has been good and we've also had the Olympics down here," says Mr. Hayes in reference to BellSouth's home base in Atlanta. As a public service, a seating chart for Olympic stadium and other athletic venues in the South were added to the new phone books.

Other enhancements in the industry include audiotext, expanded color ads, premium ad pages, a directory of Internet addresses and how-to guides to the Internet.

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