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Derailing of VSDA/NARM Show a Disappointment

25 Oct, 2004 By: Kurt Indvik

As with any joint venture that sounds good in theory, the devil is often in the details. That appears to be the case with the recent efforts to collocate the two annual conventions of the Video Software Dealers Association and the National Association of Recording Merchandisers. The proposal was dropped last week, as NARM said it will go ahead with its own show in San Diego in August, while the VSDA's event is slated for July 26 – 28 at the Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas.

The idea of a collocated event bringing together music retailers and home video retailers seemed to have such exciting potential. More than any other, these two retail channels have the potential to transform themselves into becoming specialists in providing the full spectrum of packaged home media entertainment. The worlds of music and video retailing have been coming closer and closer over the years, especially as home video has been the saving grace for many in the music retail business. The continued growth of music DVD also offered some significant growth potential for the home video retailers. It could have been a very exciting gathering.

I have spoken with a number of video retailers who felt that there is certainly more in common between these two retail channels than there are differences, and they could each learn from the other in how to run their home entertainment businesses more effectively. Much discussion in the industry recently has centered on the apparent retail space crunch for packaged home entertainment at mass merchants. More so than ever, the potential is great for the small specialty store to step into the breach and fill the gap for both consumers looking for more breadth in product, and for suppliers who need a place for their titles.

What does this do to the prospects for a possible merger between the two associations? First, the talks are reportedly continuing. A trade show is a very important financial element to any association, however. So with each association now holding its own separate event in 2005, one would think this would pose a real hurdle for a merger in the near future. But not being an association management guy, I am only speculating. Perhaps there are ways the two groups do meld their operations and interests outside of trade events.

I hope so. At least on paper, it seems like a great idea. Let's hope the details don't derail the idea.

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