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ECVS EXCLUSIVE: Show Designed for Veterans, Newcomers

7 Oct, 2002 By: Joan Villa

Sharing ideas and getting down to business will be the focus of a slightly retooled East Coast Video Show this week, emerging from last year's cloud of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that kept some retailers and exhibitors from attending.

The show, running Oct. 8 to 10 at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, N.J., is produced by Home Entertainment Events, a joint venture of the Video Software Dealers Association and Video Store Magazine parent company Advanstar Communications Inc.

This year's event is designed to give video oldtimers survival tips while welcoming a new batch of retailers to industry fundamentals with a “Video 101” seminar. A session on balancing the DVD-VHS mix will tap veteran retailers on the show's opening day to navigate the challenges of proper buying and merchandising in a time of explosive DVD growth.

Actor Jeff Daniels will kick off the opening business session by exploring the impact of independent film and his own directing debut, Escanaba in da Moonlight, that arrives on home video this fall. Bo Andersen, president of the VSDA, will give a status report on the home entertainment industry during the opening business session.

More than 90 exhibitors -- including a sprinkling of major studios such as Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Video, Paramount Home Entertainment, Artisan Home Entertainment and Warner Home Video -- will also highlight upcoming product, according to the VSDA. The show floor will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 8 and 9, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the final day.

“It is a buying show, it is a marketplace,” emphasized Carrie Dieterich, the VSDA's VP of marketing and industry relations. “People are looking to buy product for the fourth quarter, and they're getting ideas for what they want to do in the following year.”

But the VSDA has also put regional retailers firmly in charge of seminars, round tables and chat rooms, so networking will be a high priority.

The Delaware Valley chapter, for example, has discarded its annual three-day forum usually held in late spring in favor of a “more responsive” half-day seminar on Oct. 9 targeting ways experienced retailers can add money-making new concepts to their stores, explained Adrian Hickman of TLA Video, who serves on both the chapter and national VSDA boards.

“We're doing a seminar called ‘More Than Just Video,' and the idea is to present options,” Hickman said.

“It's not so much to bring in a rack of magazines, but a legitimate second business within their business to enhance it while using the same footprint.”

The discussion will explore success stories, franchising, staffing, local laws and other topics crucial to getting a second revenue stream up and going, he added. Other topics include space needs, synergy between businesses, landlord issues, demographics, and “pie in the sky” concepts. The session will include presentations from Sun Ergoline, eBay, the Video Buyers Group and others that will showcase their product.

Hickman will also host a chat room for owners and managers on Oct. 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

In addition, Stan Galperin, of Video Stars in New Jersey, along with Rich Thorward of the Movie Monitor, will host a town hall meeting at noon Wednesday.

This open forum will be a free-wheeling discussion of how to grow and position a video business.

Eric Smith, owner of 14-store Video King in St. Cloud, Fla., will join Ken McAleer of Video Headquarters on a panel delving into video games with moderator Kurt Indvik, Video Store Magazine editor-in-chief.

Smith has successfully launched a subscription game “pass” allowing customers to keep two titles out at a time with no late fees, for $19.99 per month. He'll be at the show to lobby for revenue-sharing for games and seek out fresh ideas.

“I like to meet people with similar operations to me, who are doing things right, and get their ideas,” he explained.

“I'm looking to expand what we're already doing and try to do it better.”

Paramount will host a first-night DVD Dance Party beginning at 9 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel, while a Happy Hour at Tun Tavern, sponsored by the New York/New Jersey chapter and traditionally held the night before the show begins, has been moved to Oct. 9, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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