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Ventura Summit Pushes Product Diversity to Retailers

21 Dec, 2001 By: Kurt Indvik

Product diversity is the key to profits, video retailers and independent producers heard at a recent industry gathering.

Bringing together such retailers as Best Buy, Hollywood Video, Amazon.com and others with representatives from Ventura Distribution's slate of specialty video producers was Ventura's way of building value for both sides of its customer base, says Ventura's president Larry Hayes.

Ventura played host to about 125 retailers and independent producers at its Ventura Summit 2001, Dec. 13 to 16 in Westlake, Calif. (see photos).The conference included several days of one-on-one meetings between Ventura-represented retailers and suppliers. Attendees also got in some serious networking at several major sporting events, including VIP treatment at the Tiger Woods hosted tournament, Williams World Challenge, played on the exclusive Sherwood Country Club in nearby Thousand Oaks, Calif.

"We wanted to elevate the profile of independent producers with these major retailers," Hayes says. "Our goal was to not only help retailers understand the diversity of product here, but how important it is for them to diversify the product lines in their stores."

Product diversity and "great gross margins" are two elements that independent specialty product can deliver, Hayes added. "That's our goal as a company, and I think this event was a terrific success for both retailers getting that message and for our producers to help them learn more about what they have to offer."

"I think it was very useful to have all the vendors in one room, since we don't normally have an opportunity to see them," agrees Gena Minden, the DVD and music buyer for Fry's Electronics. Retailers represented at the meeting included Eurpac, Fred Meyer, Hastings, Movie Gallery, Tower Records and Wherehouse.

Along with retailer/supplier meetings and several special presentations given by Technicolor and Video Store Magazine, Ventura also held an awards banquet at which it recognized a number of suppliers with International Recorded Media Association (IRMA) Platinum Awards.

Among the recipients were Tae Bo/Integrity Global Marketing, for Tae Bo Live; Time-Life Video, Def Comedy Jam Vol 1–8; Urbanworks Entertainment, Ball Above All, and Steve Harvey: One Man; Ruff Ryders Entertainment, Ruff Ryders Documentary; Mantra Entertainment, Girls Gone Wild Best Best Of, and College Break); E.I. Independent Cinema for Erotic Witch Project. A number of IRMA Gold Awards were also given.

Other producers on hand included DEJ Productions, FUNimation Productions, Showtime Entertainment, Slingshot Entertainment, Technicolor, Tokyopop and Video Action Sports.

Ventura was a corporate sponsor of the Williams World Challenge, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, a nonprofit organization serving and encouraging the development of children. Tiger's father and chairman of the foundation Earl Woods made a special appearance at Ventura's awards ceremony, where he encouraged attendees to "Help raise kids sights and dreams. Every child has a right to dream."

The following evening, attendees enjoyed a night of Los Angeles Laker basketball at the nearby Staples Center (Lakers won), after which Laker center Shaquille O'Neal made time for a personal visit with Ventura's guests in a VIP are.

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