The Phone Book Jerk

Quote from the Steve Martin movie, The Jerk (1979):

Navin: “The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here!"
Harry: “Boy, I wish I could get that excited about nothing."
Navin: “Nothing? Are you kidding? Page 73 - Johnson, Navin R.! I'm somebody now! Millions of people look at this book everyday! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity—  your name in print—that makes people. I'm in print! Things are going to start happening to me now.”

And that’s the way it was. Do millions of people still look in a phone book everyday? Possibly. Way back in 1979, there were fewer options, so the local phone book was the best source of community information available. Today, the options are endless and increasing each day.

Media Ventures built an entire business around phone books. Following the divestiture of AT&T in the early 1980s, MVI filled a need created by increased competition between the eight Baby Bells that were formed from that forced split. People with an entrepreneurial spirit realized there was more money to be made and hundreds of independent telephone companies sprang up around the country.

Throughout the 1980s, the phone book became a rich resource overflowing with community information, coupons and maps, plus the standard white and yellow pages. Well into the 1990s double-digit profits were not uncommon. MVI continued to thrive and positioned itself as the primary provider of community pages and maps in the country.

MVI, like the phone book, continues to succeed due to an ability to adapt and improve as we continue on into the 21st century. MVI still provides scores of community pages and maps to the industry each year. But now added to that is a full publishing services set that includes newsletters, magazines, collateral material, print/digital graphic design, social media management and more.

And what’s to become of the phone book? Will it be around forever? I don’t know. But I still like to flip through my new phone book each year to find my name.

Last modified on
JoAnn Sardo

JoAnn started with MVI back in 1987 as an Editor, and has had roles as Managing Editor, Group Publisher, Chief Operating Officer and Senior VP of Operations. After a six-year leave from the company, she was welcomed back in 2012 as General Manager. JoAnn’s open-mindedness and diplomacy allow her to effectively keep things running smoothly at MVI. Oh, and a sense of humor doesn’t hurt either. JoAnn fully believes she can make a difference and positively impact the team members here—something she strives for each day.

Passionate about genealogy, at home JoAnn can be found working on her family history, and is a proud member of both the Connecticut and National Genealogy Societies. She also finds time to oversee caregiving groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, and craft a novel. When the travel bug hits, JoAnn yearns to be among the buffalo and beauty found in Yellowstone National Park, or high energy and bright lights of Las Vegas.

JoAnn holds a degree in English (minor in Journalism) from Western Connecticut State University.

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About Us

  • You’ve got an audience to reach, we’ve got you covered. Whether you need a company newsletter, magazine, chamber directory, local map, visitor guide, social media management or anything in between, MVI has the expertise to deliver your product, in print, digital or mobile format.


  • Stamford Chamber of Commerce

    We just received our supply of maps, and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you and your staff at Media Ventures for the superb job you did. It is great to work with a professional organization such as yours that does what it says it's going to do ... and deliver on time!

    We appreciate the time you spent with us upfront deciding on design elements, paper stock, layout, and distribution channels. It was a smooth process from the very beginning.

    John P. Condin

    President & CEO

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Media Ventures, Inc.
101 Merritt Blvd.
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Trumbull, CT 06611

203.852.6570 x249

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