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Upbeat VSDA Show Defies Current Market

28 Jul, 2005 By: Kurt Indvik

Despite a slumping box office, slowing growth in DVD sales and a static rental market, the buzz on the VSDA's Home Entertainment 2005 show this week was positive, as upbeat attendees (up more than 10 percent over last year) spent a busy four days in Las Vegas at the Bellagio Hotel soaking up information at the sessions, meeting with customers and supplier partners on a crowded show floor and in exhibit suites, and attending the parade of parties and special events where Hollywood stars graced the stage.

As VSDA president Bo Andersen noted to me, the combination of a serious business environment, with lots of entertainment and a great hotel made for a successful show.

Here are a few of my observations.

Favorite Moment: An unidentified man is invited on stage (and does a pratfall) during the opening session with Jerry Lewis, clutching a printer's proof copy of Lewis' autobiography about his years with Dean Martin, slated for a fall release. Lewis, unfazed but somewhat indignant that the man has a copy of the book, deftly turns the moment back to the piracy issues of the home entertainment business. “See, I'm a victim of piracy on my own book.”

Best Idea: During a panel session featuring studio marketing executives, one rentailer spoke up from the audience, asking if it wouldn't be too much to ask the studios, in support of the rental business, to say in all their DVD advertising “Buy or Rent Today,” garnering spontaneous applause from the audience.

Name Dropping: This year's show attracted the aforementioned Jerry Lewis, Vin Diesel, Patrick Swayze and wife Lisa Niemi, Paula Abdul, Morgan Spurlock, Steve Guttenberg, Craig Shoemaker, Chazz Palminteri, Tony Orlando & Dawn, The Captain & Tennille, comedian Tom Arnold (at Lions Gate's pre-show event), Criss Angel, Prodigal Sunn and others I am sure I missed.

Thumbs Up on Bellagio: The hotel and its staff shined for attendees at this year's show. The convention center and access to the meeting suites on four floors of the hotel was efficient (no crowded elevators!) and accommodating. Biggest complaint was the relative lack of affordable places to eat lunch or a quick dinner.

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