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Top-Four Local Content Needs via Mobile

comScore, Inc. reported that the number of people who sought local information on a mobile device grew 51 percent from March 2008 to March 2009.

The mobile browser is the leading access method for seeking local information, with 20.7 million users in March 2009, up 34 percent versus year ago. Moreover, the strongest growth in the category is coming from downloaded applications, which grew 83 percent versus year ago, followed by SMS at 72 percent.

However, despite the attention mobile applications have received from developers, carriers and device OEMs, they remain the least popular access mode for mobile access of local information, with 11.3 million users in March.

A marginally more often used channel for obtaining local information is SMS, with 11.7 million users, and an impressive 72-percent growth rate. Overwhelmingly, though, the preferred mode to access local content remains the mobile browser.

"Given the explosion in application stores and associated marketing efforts, along with the growth in mobile phones using faster data networks, it would not be surprising within the next six months to see the number of people using downloadable applications surpass SMS for the accessing of local information via mobile devices," said Serge Matta, comScore senior vice president.

Among the various local content categories, the number of people accessing online directories has seen the greatest increase during the past year (73 percent), followed by restaurants (70 percent), maps (63 percent) and movies (60 percent).

"The mobile medium is an ideal fit for local directories," said Deborah Eldred, Director, Mobile and Personalization for R.H. Donnelley.

"We have the content to provide customers with the most relevant and up-to-date information to meet their needs while they are on the go. In fact, we have seen a significant increase in queries specific to visiting a local establishment, as people are looking for information about where to eat and what to do when they are out and about."

However, phone directory information usage innovation, and local Yellow Pages applications in particular, has clearly been led by non-traditional vendors in the U.S. market -- such as Tellme.com and Google 411 free voice-activated services.

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