Sensis is looking at mobility as its salvation in the increasingly
competitive search and online advertising market. Speaking at an
Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce lunch yesterday, Sensis CEO Bruce
Akhurst said that while local advertising is an “economic powerhouse”,
the key driver
to igniting its potential is mobility.

“It takes local advertising to a whole new level by putting local
services in the hands of buyers virtually no matter where they are. The
Internet may be exciting, but mobiles are addictive”, he said.
Countering analyst claims that Sensis faces a difficult time ahead as
it is forced to cannibalise its core revenue earner the White and
Yellow Pages, moving it to mobility, Akhurst pointed to US
research illustrating that Yellow Pages data is a major driver of
mobile phone subscriptions.

“We can use our local content to not only increase advertiser reach to
more potential buyers but drive new subscription revenues. Sensis’s
content will power Telstra’s leading edge technology,” he said. He
added that “the bottom line is that new channels don’t just cannibalise
existing channels… they actually give people new reasons to search.”

So the local usage pie “isn’t being carved up – it’s growing. That means
more potential buyers and a much stronger value proposition to offer
our local advertisers.” Akhurst continued: “we have put some pretty bullish
projections out there in terms of our growth rates and what we are
expecting. Our projections are still on track and we look forward to
releasing our annual results at the end of this financial year.”

Over the next five years, Telstra management has forecast that Sensis
will double the size of its business and grow annual revenue to more
than $3 billion.