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Hats off to DVD and its purveyors!

19 Jun, 2003 By: Thomas K. Arnold

I'd like to take the opportunity in my column this week to wholeheartedly thank all of you who helped make DVD in 50 the grand success it was.

It's important for our industry leaders to get together at least once a year for a summit to exchange ideas, hear what everyone else is up to, and swap perspectives with retailers, analysts and members of the creative community. DVD has revitalized the home entertainment business and given home video a sense of respect in Hollywood — something it never really had in the VHS-only days, when studio honchos would look down on what they derisively referred to as the “used movie salesmen.”

Video was the studios' cash cow, but it was always viewed as a different animal, a strange beast.

With DVD, all that's changed and, as panelists so accurately pointed out, the creative community has embraced DVD so wholeheartedly that we're not simply enjoying a new format, but rather a whole new consumer product with bells and whistles all its own.

Still, we're not operating in a vacuum, and on occasion we need to lay all our cards — or some of them, anyway — on the table for a broad meeting of the minds.

This year's conference, called “DVD in 50” in celebration of the imminent arrival of DVD in 50 million U.S. homes, was once again produced by Video Store Magazine in partnership wit h the DVD Entertainment Group, under the auspices of the indefatigable Amy Jo Donner and her tireless staffers.

Lots of good information and debate came out of this year's session, including two particularly memorable moments.

One was when Hasting Entertainment's John Marmaduke called ex-Warner Home Video president Warren Lieberfarb the “antichrist of rental” and thanked organizers for putting a table between them.

The other came during my Presidents Panel, we were talking about how hard it is to predict the future and Fox chief Mike Dunn mused that in 10 years, “all of us will probably be consultants.”

Thanks also to Video Store Magazine's staff for moderating and organizing the panels. A particular nod goes to publisher Don Rosenberg for allowing it to happen and to publications coordinator Jennifer Halperin and promotions coordinator Barbara Long, who served as associate producers of DVD in 50 — and whose formidable tasks, aside from making sure everything else ran smoothly, was keeping tabs on me and making sure I ran smoothly.

We'll do it again next year, at the third annual Home Entertainment Summit: DVD's Lucky 7.

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