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VSDA Elects Ingram's Bob Geistman New Chair

13 Jul, 2004 By: Jessica Wolf

LAS VEGAS --The two boards representing the video industry — the iGroup, newly founded to focus on independent retailers, and the national VSDA board — met here before the VSDA's Home Entertainment 2004 convention, defining their divergent aims and electing new leadership.

Both groups are focused on their individual missions, but with a sense of cooperation and camaraderie, said Sean Bersell VP of public affairs for the VSDA. Although five members of the national VSDA board also serve on the iGroup board of trustees, there is not much overlap in purpose between the two boards, he said. The iGroup board is quickly honing in on creating programs to serve the independents while the national board will “focus on broader industry issues” like piracy, Bersell said.

The board elected Ingram's Bob Geistman chairman, replacing Tom Warren of Video Hut, who will now serve as vice chairman. Chuck Porter of Giant Eagle is the new board secretary and Marty Graham of Rentrak remains treasurer.The board agreed on a measure aimed at taking an aggressive stance on piracy, Bersell said.

The group is committed to developing educational campaigns, retail signage and anti-piracy labeling on DVD product, he said.

The board also agreed to “endorse appropriately targeted lawsuits against individuals” and support new laws that aim to deter piracy, punish offenders as well as support the development of lawful alternatives to file-swapping, Bersell said.

“Fortunately, the video industry has not been ravaged the way music industry has, but we can't take a lot of solace in that,” he said. “The wolf may not be at the door yet, but he's in the woods.”

The board also unanimously reaffirmed its commitment to the recent letter of intent to potentially merge with the National Association of Recording Merchandisers and to continue discussions with that group.

Three new members joined the VSDA board yesterday — Leigh Ann Moore from Circuit City, Ted Sarandos from Netflix and Jeffrey Belle from Amazon.com.

The iGroup elected its new officers Monday. They are: Terri Schumacher, Video Village Etc., chairman; Todd Zaganiacz, Video Zone, vice chairman; Adrian Hickman, TLA Video, secretary; and Jim Loperfido, Emerald City Video, treasurer. The iGroup kicks off its inaugural show presence with an independent retailer rally tonight.

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