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 popped 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, continued to succeed due to an ability to adapt and improve as we moved into the 21st century. Up until October 2017, and the pulling of the proverbial plug by our largest client, MVI still provided scores of community pages and maps to the industry each year. Through the years we added a full suite of publishing services that included 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.