New England Buying Group Stretches Across Country6 Dec, 2004 By: Jessica Wolf
The New England Buying Group (NEBG) is reaching out to represent a broader swath of independent video retailers (IVRs).
The group is changing its name to the National Entertainment Buyers Group (NEBG) and is welcoming IVR membership from across the country.
The expansion idea has been in the works for a few months, said NEBG president Todd Zaganiacz, and is needed due to the increasing competition IVRs face from mass merchants and large chains.
The group will continue to provide stronger buying power with the studios but will also focus on promotional and support services for IVRs, Zaganiacz said.
“Seven years ago when we started, you joined a buying group for pricing reasons,” Zaganiacz said. “Every title had a program, and it was the only way you could compete with Blockbuster and Hollywood.”
Buying power is still an issue, but now that about 80 percent of titles enter the pipeline at sellthrough prices, buying isn't necessarily the biggest issue for the IVR, he said.
Aggressive loss-leader pricing and significant competition for consumers' attention from such behemoths as Wal-Mart and Best Buy are at the forefront for all retailers, Zaganiacz said.
“Even Blockbuster and Hollywood are feeling the pinch just as much as we are,” he said.
What IVRs need are tools to help them hook the customer, such tools as promotional materials, special in-store programs and used trading options, all three of which NEBG is prepared to help provide its members, Zaganiacz said.
NEBG already has a gift card program ready at minimal expense for IVRs. The group will continue to work closely with the studios to develop and provide easy-to-implement quarterly promotional opportunities for indies, Zaganiacz said, like last year's partnership with MGM Home Entertainment for Uptown Girls. NEBG members received ballot boxes and promotional materials urging customers to enter to win one of two complete band sets (guitars, drum set, etc.) provided by MGM.
“The studios, large and small, have always been supportive of us, and I think they will continue to be,” Zaganiacz said.
Another component the group will offer is a movie- and game-trading software program — a user-friendly, monthly updated pricing guide for buying trade-ins of movie and game product.
That program can be individualized to meet a store's stock needs and gives store clerks guidelines on what product to buy and for how much, Zaganiacz said.
“For stores that aren't in the movie- and game-trading business yet, this is a fantastic entry level for them,” he said.