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VSDA Show Continues to Evolve With the Industry

18 Jul, 2004 By: Kurt Indvik

This year's VSDA show appeared to be a success on many levels. Preliminary registration figures showed a slight uptick in attendance, and from what we heard from exhibitors, attendees and just checking out the scene in the hallways and expo hall, traffic seemed to be strong and steady. There was a strong slate of sessions, the parties were plentiful, well done and well attended, and the logistical issues of moving thousands of people up and down the elevator shafts of the Venetian hotel from one floor of meeting suites to another appeared to go very smoothly, certainly compared to the past two years.

Trying to ascertain some of the main themes emanating from the show was a challenge because in many ways, at least it seemed to the staff of Video Store Magazine, the show has several personalities and paths. Historically, of course, it has been a show about the retailing of home video, and it continues to be. In this regard, the pursuit of new business models to expand one's video store revenue base was certainly a theme as industry figures point to a rental downturn (although I hear from many retailers that they are doing just fine, thank you).

The growing sellthrough nature of the business is inviting the question, can specialty retailers find some way to participate in the new-release sellthrough business beyond the burgeoning previously viewed sales initiatives, which will account for $2.37 billion by the end of 2004?

And the introduction of the VSDA's newly created organization for independent retailers and a new name — Independent Dealers of Entertainment Association (iDEA) — formally known under its working name of the iGroup, was a sign that in some ways the association and its show were returning to its roots.

But on the other hand, what we found interesting was the almost film-market feel to this event. In this new iteration, what we are seeing is not just exhibitors selling to attendee retailers, but a whole m?lange of different types of attendees who were roaming the halls shopping their own products and looking for development and distribution deals. Independent filmmakers certainly have a big presence at the event with their own exhibit hall and seminar track, but it seemed to us that we also met a number of very interesting hybrid sort of companies who sold product direct to consumers, whether that be by direct mail, Web or even brick-and-mortar retail, and who were looking for more suppliers of a particular type, or who wanted to develop exclusive productions of their own for their particular target market.

Not to say this hasn't been going on at past shows, but it certainly seemed to us that the VSDA's Home Entertainment events continue to evolve with a home entertainment industry where the lines of retail and production continue to get fuzzier.

All in all, a very successful and interesting event to be sure.

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