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VSDA Planning Consumer Shows

17 Jul, 2002 By: Joan Villa

The Video Software Dealers Association plans to launch consumer shows in a handful of mid-size cities this fall to promote packaged entertainment and generate revenue for the trade group, Video Store Magazine has learned.

The new shows will capitalize on consumer interest in DVD and home entertainment to showcase video products, generate video awareness and potentially be a source of revenue, sources said.

“They're trying to fast-track this thing,” said one director, who gleaned plan details for the first time at a board presentation Monday.

“They'd like to do something by the fall and ramp it up pretty quick if it's a successful endeavor.”

The association will identify a handful of midsize cities to try out the concept, soliciting corporate sponsors, celebrity appearances and local retail support.

Retailers may also be tapped to sell new and previously viewed product at the shows, and radio stations would be utilized for promotional ticket giveaways and remote broadcasts to drive consumers to attend, sources said.

“We don't know what's going to fly, so the first three will be experiments,” noted another director. “We're confident the format will work, we just don't know the details.”

VSDA president Bo Andersen would not confirm specifics other than to acknowledge staff is “looking into” the idea of consumer shows as a potential source of revenue.

The not-for-profit association has been seeking ways to replace income lost over the last few years as the annual convention evolves from a larger, exhibit-based event to more of a business-meeting/conference event run primarily from suites.

“Diversification into consumer shows is one of the first things you would normally think of to keep this within the industry,” the director said.

If successful, the concept could fund legislative advocacy, educational forums, the association's Web site and other programs and services aimed at smaller and independent retailers, said a source familiar with the plan.

Sources said the planned consumer shows should certainly generate a great deal of buzz in the second-tier markets in which they are targeted. The idea behind the shows is to bring Hollywood to the rest of the country, sources said.

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