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TK's MORNING BUZZ: This Year's East Coast Video Show Offers a Good Opportunity to 'Break Out of the Safety Net' and Talk to Other People in the Business

10 Oct, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

The East Coast Video Show opened yesterday in Atlantic City, N.J., andwhile this year I'm not there in person due to a minor illness, we have awhole team led by our group publisher, Don Rosenberg.

I spoke with most of our traveling staffers yesterday. From all reports, the show opened with a bang, despite the much-ballyhooed cocooning of America and down attendance at many other trade events.

The traditional pre-opening party Monday night at the Tun Tavern was as packed as always, and from what I hear organizers handed out 400 drink tickets before they ran out. Looking at photos from the show -- you can accessthem by clicking here East Coast Video Show -- you see a lot of familiar faces, including Rich Thorward and Michael Becker, who owns The Video Room in New York City, but also quite a few new ones.

"A lot of people I spoke to said they really felt the need to go out and meet with other people in our business," Don told me last night. "It's sort of like breaking out of your little safety net, doing a little externalizingafter a lot of internalizing." Don said several show-goers told him they didn't make it out to last year's show due to the bad weather, so they "really wanted to come" to this year's show.

And with good reason. The fun and frolic at the Tun Tavern aside -- and I do miss those wonderfully tall glasses of chilled ale! -- the East Coast Video Show is all about business, a premier networking event where you can also buy product and negotiate deals.

The show floor opened yesterday morning with a flurry of activity, our team tells me. "When I got there at a quarter to 12, it was hopping; there was a lot of traffic on the show floor," according to our correspondent, Anne Sherber.

Front and center is Anime Alley, a grouping of anime suppliers that includes a small "theater" where retailers can watch continuous showings ofanime trailers. Anne says she walked by the theater several times throughout the day "and there were always people in it."

A returning face, back for the first time since 1999: Ron Berger, the Rentrak Corp. founder, now hawking pizza franchises to video retailers with his new company, Figaro's Pizza. Ironically, Ron's booth is just a few feetfrom the Rentrak booth, which he personally manned year after year until his ouster in a September 2000 shareholder revolt.

You can read all about VSDA president Bo Andersen's speech elsewhere here on the Hive. It was a good speech, a strong speech, in which hevigorously defended video retailers' right to rent -- a right now being challenged on various fronts.

The high point of the opening session, however, was when VSDA chairman Tom Warren introduced Victor Esch, a retailer (he's got two stores in Delaware) who is also a firefighter.

Esch and Warren encouraged retailers to participate in a campaign to raise money for the families of firefighters who lost their lives in theSept. 11 terrorist attacks. It's called the International Association of Fire Fighters Boot Drive, and participating retailers get a surplus firefighter's boot they can use to collect money from their customers. Retailers interested in participating in the drive may call 302/226-3660.

The adult industry, meanwhile, is also pitching in to raise money for victims of the tragedy. They're selling T-shirts that depict an American flag and the slogan, "We blow people -- we don't blow people up."

Comments? Contact TK directly at:TKArnold@aol.com

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