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COVERING OUR INDUSTRY: Tuesday's Tragedy Overshadows All Other News

14 Sep, 2001 By: Stephanie Prange

After this week’s terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World TradeCenter, a familiar DVD Web site, www.thedigitalbits.com, hosted by our contributor Bill Hunt, posted a note saying that no DVD news would be discussed in light of such tragic events. “DVD just doesn't seem very important at the moment,” the site’s note read.

This week, I felt much the same way.

Working to put out next week's Video Store Magazine proved a difficult task as talk ofstreet dates and rental windows suddenly seemed trivial.

The nation has paused to mourn and regroup.

The studios were closed. At least one analyst often interviewed for our business stories was out giving blood and couldn’t be reached.Indeed, Blockbuster chief John Antioco talked to our reporter Joan Villa via cell phone because he, like so many others, was stranded after the nation’s airlines were grounded. He had been on the runway aboard a 9 a.m. flight to New York City from Boston’s Logan Airport, from which two of the doomed planes originated. The flight returned to the terminal.

Our own Bruce Apar, in Los Angeles on business, was shaken by the attack on the city in which he works, and the company closed our NewYork offices.

The most striking story involved an industry veteran and longtime trusted source. Flash Distributors president Steve Scavelli e-mailed ouroffice to report he had been in a deposition for the Blockbuster antitrust case near the World Trade Center when it was hit. He ended upjoining in the rescue effort and his Brooklyn headquarters became an emergency command center.

Scheduled to be honored with a VIAAC Visionary Award at this week’s industry event for his contribution to the AIDS cause, Scavelli provedhis heroism again last week in the thick of this terrible tragedy. I hope he makes it to the event so we can thank him — although obviouslythere may be more pressing matters.

Our hearts go out to all the people affected by this disaster. I trust we can weather this and come out stronger.

Comments? Contact Stephanie directly at:sprange@advanstar.com

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