NAVD Preview: A One-on-One Affair8 Apr, 2004 By: Jessica Wolf
Suppliers and distributors will get down to business at the 21st annual National Association of Video Distributors (NAVD) conference in Santa Monica, Calif., April 18-20.
NAVD executive director Bill Burton said that over the last few years, in the wake of a shrinking list of video distribution companies, the conference has been distilled to a series of one-on-one business meetings for suppliers and their distributors.
It works well for both sides, he said: “It's a very convenient and inexpensive way for the suppliers to meet with all their distributors.”
Burton said there really isn't one major issue the distributors are focused on this year, though timely delivery of product is always an area of concern.
One specific challenge for distributors right now, he said is “staying abreast of marketplace changes as new formats come on and become incorporated into the entertainment dollar.”
Five distributors are attending this year's conference, Baker & Taylor, Flash, Ingram, Video One Canada and Waxworks. Suppliers attending include Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, DEJ Productions, Hart Sharp Home Video, HBO Home Video, New Concorde Home Video, New Line Home Entertainment, ProActive Entertainment, Paramount Home Entertainment, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Warner Home Video and WEA Home Video.
The conference was more productive when all the major studios and more of the secondary suppliers attended, said Steve Scavelli, president of Flash Distributors, noting the absence of MGM Home Entertainment and Universal Studios Home video and independent suppliers like Lions Gate Home Entertainment, York Entertainment, Maverick Entertainment and others.
“But we actually have more coming this year than last year,” he said. “Columbia is back and DEJ is coming, for the first time, I think.”
And, the dwindling numbers and dissention in the ranks among distributors themselves has changed the dynamic of the conference, he said. In the past, distributors would meet before their studio appointments at the conference and make sure to hammer home problems that were happening across the board or present compiled sales data to the studios.
These days, there's less of a united front, Scavelli said.
VPD, one of the few distributors still standing is not attending the conference this year.
Issues that are likely to come up, Scavelli said, include street date violations, which are rampant in the Northeastern part of the country and can appear sometimes two to three weeks before a title's street date; VHS pricing and programs that will ensure the studios keep the cassette viable for the retailers who still have a significant VHS/DVD split in product is another issue.