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TV DVD Conference: A Forum for Strategies, Forecasts and Spirited Discussions

21 Oct, 2004 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Pardon me for gushing, but I'm still on a high from the second annual TV DVD Conference Video Store Magazine produced earlier this week in cooperation with The Hollywood Reporter and DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

Carl Reiner was blisteringly funny as he accepted his TV DVD Lifetime Achievement Award, the first we've ever given out. He was also as gracious as they come, calling me the next Merv Griffin and recalling how proud he was nearly 50 years ago to receive another brand-new award — something called the Emmy.

Tony Orlando and Dawn, reunited for the first time in 17 years, played a wonderfully retro set of their own hits (“Knock Three Times,” “Candida,” “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree”) just before the inaugural TV DVD Awards, which Tony cohosted with our publisher, Don Rosenberg. With apologies to several annoyed staffers — particularly our copy editor, Angelique Flores — I have to say I got quite a kick out of referring to our presenters as Tony Orlando and Don.

But beneath all the glitz and glamour, a lot of ideas were exchanged, strategies discussed, and forecasts issued and dissected. I'll let the reporters for our magazine tell you all about what happened — but what really took place, in my book, was that the executives behind the TV DVD boom got together, all in one place, and were able to step back and look at the business from all different angles — something that's hard to do in a boardroom or office when you're constantly being hammered about numbers and shipments and first-week selloffs.

I look at these conferences we produce as a live feature story. Once again, there's a reporter interviewing a handful of experts, but in a conference the answers are all made public as they happen, not days or weeks later, in print. And more often than not, that leads to spirited discussions and back-and-forth banter that's hard to achieve in the sterile confines of a Word document.

One studio panelist told me he'll never be on another panel with Paul Brownstein, the outspoken DVD producer who frequently takes to task the studios for what he considers shoddy work on their TV DVD product — you know, not going to the trouble of bringing the original cast members in for commentaries and interviews, or settling for cheap, edited syndication prints instead of the network originals.

But in the next breath, he conceded, “Paul did make some good points, though.”

He's right — Paul did make some good points. And thanks to the conference, he at least had a forum in which to express them.

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