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TK's MORNING BUZZ: It Doesn't Take More Than a Few Seconds Before a Table Full of Retailers Who Don't Know Each Other Begin Comparing Notes

6 Aug, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Sunsplash 2001 is now a memory, and members of the Video Software Dealers Association's Carolinas Chapter are already making plans for next year's show, buoyed by an uptick in attendance and quite crowded seminars and show floor.

The real value of regional events like Sunsplash, however, were driven home to me during a buffet lunch sponsored by Buena Vista Home Entertainment. I sat at a table full of retailers from as far away as Albany, N.Y. From the moment they sat down, it was clear that they didn't know each other. But it didn't take more than a few seconds before they began comparing notes.

"How much are you doing in DVD [rental?" asked one. "Twenty, 25%," responded another, and so it went down the line, with the average in the low 20s and the consensus that within a year, they would all hit or surpass the 50% mark.

"Where do you buy your DVDs?" was the second question and, again, the responses came one after the other. This time, Best Buy was the definite "wholesaler" of choice, getting the vote both for its price and its timeliness ("they've got stuff on their shelves before my distributor even gets it into his warehouse," said one retailer).

When VSDA president Bo Andersen warned that some studios are talking about issuing different discs for the sellthrough and rental markets, and cracking down on retailers who rent the lower-priced sellthrough discs, eyebrows were raised. No sooner had Bo left the podium than the retailers were vowing to fight this, peppering me with questions about First Sale and swearing they would not play ball.

They sat around the table long after they had finished their lunch, swapping stories and ideas, talking about how they do things, why they do what they do and tricks of the trade they've picked up. Phone numbers were exchanged, friendships begun.

We walked out together. One retailer turned to me and said, "This is why we come."


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

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