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TK's MORNING BUZZ -- LIVE DAILY FROM THE VSDA SHOW IN LAS VEGAS! <BR> Day 5 -- Some Random Parting Shots Driving Home From Las Vegas With the DVD Guru in a Rented Geo Metro

10 Jan, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

"West Wing's" Moira Kelly signing autographs at Video Store Magazine/hive4media's Cybercafe at VSDA. (Hive Photo)

The 20th annual VSDA convention is behind us now, and here are some random parting shots that struck me today as I was driving home from Las Vegas with our DVD guru, Ralph Tribbey, in a rented Geo Metro:

--Attendance, attendance, attendance. Everyone was trying to figure out how many people were at the show. One trade magazine quoted several veteran convention-goers who estimated between 3,500 and 5,000 people were at the show; other sources put the figure much higher, thanks primarily to the huge adult show right next door to our humble VSDA confab. My point: Who cares?

Dallas was one of the most poorly attended VSDA conventions in history, and yet the show itself was one of the best, judging from the seminar lineup and attendance at those seminars. If the show worked for you, it doesn't matter if there were 10 people there or 10,000 -- and for lots of people with whom I spoke, the show certainly did work. Among them: the independent filmmakers invited to the show to pitch their product directly to retailers, distributors, buying groups and small labels. Let's not put too much stake in numbers. We all know the retail landscape has been shrinking, so we can safely assume fewer people are coming to the show. So what?

--Jeff Bezos' keynote address may have been one long sales pitch for/guided tour through Amazon's Web site, but in a subsequent roundtable interview it was clear the e-commerce whiz had lots of stuff to talk about relevant to his audience. I wonder, did the VSDA suggest what Bezos talk about, or simply leave it up to him? If he was just told to show up and speak, then the onus lies on the VSDA, in future years, to make sure the speaker understands who the audience is and the state of the business they're in. It's my hunch that with a little direction, Bezos' keynote address could have been a truly enlightening experience.

--Yes, the show floor plan is correct. Video Store Magazine/Hive4Media had the biggest booth on the show floor.

--Celebrities were conspicuous by their absence -- after several pass-throughs, it seemed to me that the autograph station was dominated by Playmates --but some of the ones who came seemed to really care about their audience. I'll single out Jeff Donovan, star of Book of Shadows: The Blair Witch Project 2.

He was at every function Artisan Home Entertainment wanted him to be at, and he appeared to generally care about the video and who's renting and selling the video. A good guy.

--Among the hardest-working people at the whole show were Sue Procko and her staff of publicists. Charged with manning the press room, they were besieged, daily, with requests from "reporters" for a pass to the adult show. Judging from what I overheard, many of them 1) had registered in advance over the Web, but for some inexplicable reason had never gotten their credentials (you just can't trust the U.S. Postal Service, I guess); 2) were veteran journalists whose Web sites or public-access television stations reach exceptionally large audiences with a keen interest in adult entertainment; and 3) had left their clips or business cards at home/in their other jacket/at their hotel.

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

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