Showgoers Get Down to Business16 Jul, 2002 By: Joan Villa
While a 20-foot Gumby inflated at the exhibit hall entrance lent a festive air to Home Entertainment 2002, retailers and suppliers geared up to do serious business.
With a new convention format that emphasizes meeting suites over flashy exhibit booths, only about 50 exhibitors are on the show floor, with more than 100 reserving suites instead.
While declining to give exact registration numbers, Video Software Dealers Association president Bo Andersen said the preregistration tally was a little bit ahead of last year's. Andersen said the new show format is “in test mode.” In fact, no dates or venue have yet been set for the show next year, he said.
He also said the association is exploring other sources of revenue, including consumer shows.
The new format didn't faze registrants who were lining up their own agendas for the show.
“We're all wondering how the VHS-DVD mix is going to go and how long it's going to be until DVD takes over. That's the searing question,”said Jim Loperfido, a DVD seminar panelist and owner of two Emerald City Video stores in Syracuse, N.Y.
It will be “a different kind of busy,” predicted Arny Schorr, SVP and general manager of Rhino Home Video. The supplier's suite is booked for “wall-to-wall” meetings, he said, promoting DVD editions for Transformers, Elvis, Ed Sullivan and Gumby (hence the Macy's parade-style Gumby greeter). “Since we don't have a large sales staff, exposure is always an issue for us,” Schorr said. “The whole idea is to set up meetings with key retailers.”
One thing nobody missed was long registration lines — those who registered in advance received show badges by mail this year.
At the VSDA board meeting yesterday, chairman Tom Warren ran unopposed and was re-elected as head of the 17-member panel — the first chairman ever to serve a three-year term; Terri Schumacher will continue as vice-chair; and Martha Vance Sims was re-elected as secretary. Bob Geistman of Ingram Entertainment was elected treasurer, replacing Marty Graham of Rentrak Corp.
Addressing a recent Federal Trade Commission report on marketing films to parents and children, the board directed staff to develop guidelines for retailers, said Sean Bersell, VSDA's VP of public affairs. The board also issued two policy statements: one reaffirming the association's position that all DVD, VHS and pay-per-view (PPV) movies be copy protected following a publicized incident in which DVD copies of Warner Home Video's Harry Potter did not block copying to VHS. The other urged studios to provide PPV dates on video announcements.
In other board news, appointed member Joe Pagano of Best Buy completed his term, Blockbuster's Nigel Travis was reappointed to a second term, and Amazon.com's Jason Kilar was replaced by Amazon's William Carr. Hollywood Video president Mark Wattles yielded his seat to Hollywood EVP F. Bruce Geisbrecht. Elected directors Bob Webb and John Merchant also ended their terms.