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UPDATE: 2002 VSDA Show Set for July 16-18

14 Sep, 2001 By: John Jimenez

The 21st annual Video Software Dealers Association convention, which had been postponed from its original January 2002 date, will take place July 16-18, 2002, at the Sands Expo Center/Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.

"Our most recent survey of attendees and exhibitors indicated an overwhelming preference for a summer show, and Las Vegas remains the number one choice among attendees and exhibitors," said VSDA president Bo Andersen in a statement. "Retailers indicated that the summer was a better time for them to attend the show because additional help for their stores was more readily available than in January when schools are in session and many planned summer vacations around the VSDA convention. Some retail attendees also indicated that early January remains a busy post-holiday time in their stores.”

"July also offers attendees and exhibitors a substantial cost savings over January because hotel room rates and air travel are less expensive in the summer," said Elizabeth Waiksnis, Home EntertainmentEvents/Advanstar show director, in a statement. Home Entertainment Events is the joint venture between the VSDA and Advanstar Communications (parent company of Video Store Magazine and its Web site Hive4media.com) that produces the show.

Suppliers “felt that they can really push fourth quarter releases” during July, whereas in January “they don't have as much to push,” adds Carrie Dieterich, VSDA v.p. of marketing and public relations. Some sellthrough attendees may enjoy having the show in tandem with CES, which they also attend, Dieterich notes, but reaction to the July change for the most part has been good.

As announced earlier, the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo will continue to take place Jan. 9-11 at the Sands Expo in conjunction with the Consumer Electronics Show, but show organizers expect that the summer show will continue to have an adult floor.

Industry reaction to the decision is largely positive. “It is a very good move,” says Flash Distributors president Steven Scavelli. “Travel is cheaper. Hotels are cheaper. It is a good time for the studios to present their fourth-quarter promotions, although May would be even better. It gives good separation between the conventions; business is not at its peak time. The only downside is the heat. But I think we can all live with that, being in the AC most of the day anyway. Also, it gives someone the opportunity to throw a wet and wild party.”

“I am happy to see the convention back to July in Vegas for a few reasons,” says Jim Loperfido of Emerald City Video in Auburn, N.Y. “First, January is a rough time to get away for retailers; it's our season. Plus, CES purely and simply overshadowed the VSDA show. Rooms were too hard to come by and traffic was atrocious. Also, a July convention sets the tone for the second half of the year, where it is needed. Finally, we have more help to draw in July, as college students are available.”

“It seems that the majority of those who have voiced an opinion in the past have indicated that July is preferable to January,” says Mick Blanken of Superhitz Moviez & Games in Delaware, Ohio. “If the move makes it easier for retailers to attend and participate, then I am all for it. I also hope that, while it may be difficult, we are able to keep some adult presence at the confab.”

But at least one retailer thinks its not so much the timing but the content of the convention that matters.

“I don't care when the convention is as long as it has substance and information,” says Barry Glovsky of Video Department Setups (VDS) in Newton, Mass. “I, for one, am tired of the same old vendors on the floor and the same seminars. If we can't learn from the studios what their VOD commitment really is, or when they may change PPV windows, how can we improve customer flow into our stores and have what few customers we may have actually rent more product? We also need a good way for retailers to mingle and exchange ideas. Just listening to distribution and studios doesn't cut it anymore. We need to learn how to really run our stores better. Having 'stars' there for autographs pushing product we really wouldn't buy anyway doesn't go so far anymore.

"We have some real problems in our business and we need some meaningful guidance, and soon,” he said.

The VSDA's Dieterich agrees the show needs some retooling. “We're definitely reinventing the show in some way,” she says. “We're going to have to look at how to service the industry the way it is now.”

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