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TK's MORNING BUZZ: Retailers Worried About the Future Better Concentrate on the 4th Quarter

6 Oct, 2000 By: Thomas K. Arnold

The home video industry is turning into a litigious mess.

We've got independent retailers suing Blockbuster and the studios over direct revenue-sharing deals that are supposedly unfair.

We've got consumers suing Blockbuster over late fees, again that are supposedly unfair.

And now we've got distributors talking about going to the courts to seek an end to studios pulling product and either selling it directly to retailers or cutting back on the number of distributors they use.

Where will it all end? Your guess is as good as mine. The only thing that can be said with any certainty is that once the legal system is involved, any solution is a long way off and will likely come too late to make any difference in the way business is conducted.

That means retailers need to find a way around Blockbuster getting allegedly sweetheart deals, can expect to continue to collect late fees, and will have to deal with buying their product from two or three distributors instead of one--unless they happen to do all their business with Ingram Entertainment.

Who said, "The more things change, the more they stay the same?" None of the legal proceedings currently going on, or being contemplated, affect retailers' day-to-day businesses.

And it's high time retailers who intend to remain in this business realize this fact and, instead of hoping for some far-off legal salvation or wringing their hands out of concern for the future, concentrate on the present--and on the fourth quarter, a time when smart retailers stand to make a whole lot of money.

One of the best things anyone did for retailers occurred at the just-completed WaxWorks trade show and conference in Owensboro, Ky. The video distributor's marketing department handed out a two-sided sheet of paper with 100 marketing tips, from rewarding employees (putting their picture on the wall along with suggested picks, getting them involved in the screening process) to actively engaging local businesses in cross-promotions.

Do me a favor. Go to the WaxWorks Web site at WaxWorksOnline.comand, even if you're not a customer, download the marketing tips sheet. If you need help, call them at 270/926-0008.

In an era of legal maneuverings and sky-is-falling panic, what we can all use is a good dose of common sense.

Here's where you'll find it.

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

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