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VSDA, NARM Could Merge

11 Jun, 2004 By: Jessica Wolf

The Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) and the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) are exploring a merger between the two trade associations.

The groups announced that they are finalizing a letter of intent to pursue merger negotiations.

Bo Andersen, VSDA president, said a merger between the two groups makes sense because the interests of the members line up together more often than not. Also, the nature of today's market has created a crossover in terms of the product that video retailers and music retailers carry and the way they do business.

“The sellthrough market is growing so rapidly, and music retailers are carrying so much DVD that we're really all talking to the same people. There's a convergence of interest in legislative issues and the need to respond to piracy,” he said.

A merged association would be a more powerful force in the industry for its members, both financially and in influence, Andersen said, and could open up new membership opportunities as well.

Making sure the merger makes sense for all members is an imperative step in the process, said Jim Donio, acting president of NARM.

“The most important test of doing a thing like this is to ask, ‘Will the whole be greater than the sum of the parts?’ Donio said.

The VSDA started as a component of NARM back in the early days of video and broke away to become its own organization in 1981. Much of VSDA's initial success can be attributed to support from NARM, Andersen said.

One of the next steps in the potential merger process is to get feedback from the membership base and explore the logistics of combining the two groups. Donio said he expects the group's separate trade shows this summer will provide a meeting ground for both groups to discuss membership.

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