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VSDA Looks to Future on Eve of Show

25 Jul, 2005 By: Kurt Indvik

On the eve of what looks to be a well-attended Home Entertainment 2005, retailers and suppliers were looking for solutions to a slower growth home video market, but optimistic that both the show and the industry would enjoy a strong showing.

Meanwhile, the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) announced a new slate of directors in a board meeting yesterday.

Re-elected as chairman of the VSDA is Bob Geistman, Ingram Entertainment, as was vice chairman Tom Warren, an industry consultant. Chuck Porter from Giant Eagle will serve as secretary, while Leigh Ann Moore from Circuit City Stores is treasurer.

New members of the 16-person board include Kevin Cassidy, Tower Records and Video; Cindy Holland, Netflix; Keith Hoogland, Family Video; Chuck van der Lee, Rogers Video; Matt Yeats, Amazon.com; and Eric Doctorow, Ventura Distribution.

“We're trying to make sure our vision, our goals for the home entertainment business are broad based and reflective of the constituents we serve,” Geistman said. “I think you can see that represented in the kind of board members we have.”

Geistman also said the board is reworking the VSDA's strategic plan for the next several years. The last plan was completed in 2002. The new plan, Geistman said, will continue the association's expanded focus not just on traditional home video, but portable entertainment, Internet-based businesses, digital delivery and other channels of retail and product delivery.

The VSDA also has just released its 2005 annual report on the home entertainment industry, which brings together data on retail, supplier and consumer trends in video and video games. It found a $24 billion business in 2004 continuing to enjoy moderate growth, a stabilized rental market with a greater impact from subscriptions, and a greater impact from special-interest product.

Attendees were gearing up for a busy three days and were generally upbeat in their approach to the business and the show.

“There seems to be a re-energized interest [in the show],” said TLA Video's Adrian Hickman. “All the studios are here; some of the glitz is back. I think the show has successfully reinvented itself and has become an important part of the industry again. If it wasn't, I don't think Universal would be back.”

Steve Hicks of Hastings Entertainment said the strong buzz leading up to the show reminded him a little of VSDA shows from its heyday.

“With all the major studios here, the increased retailer involvement and the level of talent that's slated to be here, it's really raised the level of excitement this year,” he said. Hicks said Hastings will focus its time here meeting with secondary suppliers the Texas-based retailer doesn't get to see regularly.

Robert DeFreitas with music and video distributor Alliance said he's got about 25 meetings with retail customers and suppliers. He'd like suppliers to focus on more development of the CD-DVD hybrid DualDisc.

“There is less than an hour of DVD content on a DualDisc. They are not using video content to lure the customer and make it better,” DeFreitas said. “We need a value added product in the music industry.”

“With the price of DVDs, the retail field has been leveled in the past couple of years,” said Ingram's Geistman. Retailers may be somewhat concerned over the perceived slowing of growth in DVD, but, he added, “retailers are generally positive that when the box office comes back their business will come back.”

Additional reporting by Erik Gruenwedel and Jessica Wolf.

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