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EMA Show Graduates to the Next Phase

30 Jun, 2008 By: Thomas K. Arnold

It certainly wasn't your daddy's VSDA. The transformation of Home Media Expo, the video retail community's annual trade show and convention, is virtually complete. And what was once a giant dog-and-pony show where studios courted independent rental dealers has become a power-packed think tank for the home entertainment industry's leaders, visionaries and critical thinkers.

Imagine a conversation between Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment president Mike Dunn about managing the consumer transition from standard DVD to Blu-ray Disc — first in a panel setting, then in private. Picture Eisuke Tsuyuzaki of Panasonic huddled with Entertainment Merchants Association president Bo Andersen to discuss ways of bringing video retailers and the hardware community closer together.

“After speaking to several of your members, I realize we as hardware manufacturers can do more to support this side of the content industry,” Tsuyuzaki said in a follow-up e-mail.

And let's not forget the analysts, from veteran home entertainment guru Tom Adams to smart young James McQuivey of Forrester Research who, while officially at the show to participate in panels, spent lots more time roaming the Palms Hotel and Casino chatting up studio executives and retailers about the business.

Our business may be flat, and we are in a year of transitioning from standard DVD to Blu-ray Disc. And yet the tone of the show was one of unbridled optimism. Several retailers as well as independent suppliers told me their business has never been better — while the perception of Blu-ray Disc is that the format's ultimate success, in the words of one show attendee, is “inevitable.”

Most everyone at the show seemed to agree on that point, even normally skeptical analysts. McQuivey even said it's not a question of getting consumers to transition to Blu-ray Disc, it's a question of how fast we can do it.

Rest assured there was plenty of strategizing at Home Media Expo 2008. Things like that tend to happen when you get the right group of people together, at the right place, at the right time.

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