ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- A new venue, record attendance and a strong educational program aimed at supermarkets highlighted the East Coast Video Show, Oct. 1 to 3, here.
Attendance of retailers and others shopping the show floor grew 18% to 8,329 at the event, according to Diane Stone, show director. The show moved this year from a hotel to the Atlantic City Convention Center.
Including exhibitor personnel, total participation in the show was 10,216, making it a strong second to the Video Software Dealers Association's annual convention, which drew a total of 13,300 people to Los Angeles in July. The number of exhibitors was 270, up from last year's 210. While specialty retailers came to the show from all around the country, supermarket participation was limited to a number of large Northeastern chains. Exhibitors reported seeing representatives of Wegmans Food Markets, Rochester, N.Y.; ShopRite stores belonging to Wakefern Food Corp., Elizabeth, N.J.; Price Chopper Supermarkets, Schenectady, N.Y.; Giant Eagle, Pittsburgh; Pathmark, Woodbridge, N.J.; Grand Union, Wayne, N.J.; Farm Fresh, Norfolk, Va., and Genuardi's Family Markets, Norristown, Pa.
Some prominent supermarket rackers also attended, including The Movie Exchange, Oaks, Pa., and Cintam Video Rentals, Hazlet, N.J. Curiously, while most of the show's attendance came from small independent video stores, medium and smaller-sized supermarket companies were conspicuous by their absence.
"With the programming that we prepared for them, some of the larger players knew to maximize that opportunity," said ECVS' Stone. "The challenge for the future is to spread the word even more and make sure we get more people next year," she said.
Supermarket programming at the show featured a seminar put on by Supermarket News that included representatives of Wegmans; Warner Home Video, Burbank, Calif.; Ingram Entertainment, La Vergne, Tenn.; SuperComm, Dallas, and Movie Exchange. In a lively hour-long roundtable discussion, retailers, suppliers and rackers exchanged ideas.
The show also was highlighted by top industry executives discussing the video piracy issue. Two large parties were hosted by New Line Home Video, Los Angeles, and Turner Home Entertainment, Atlanta. There were more top-level executives at this year's ECVS than at past shows, retailers told SN.
While of little professional interest to supermarket video executives, ECVS now has the largest exhibition of "adult" entertainment, housed in a separate area about one-third the size of the main exhibit area. A very profitable category for many video specialty stores, this helps drive overall attendance at the show, creating the critical mass that makes events like this successful, said industry observers.
Retailers and rackers told SN that ECVS is a good nuts-and-bolts show where exhibitors are very accessible and new ideas are easy to come by.
"I saw some new shelving ideas that we are going to implement in our stores," said Tim Ambrose, video specialist at Genuardi's Family Markets. "I also saw some signage programs that we have never considered before, but now we are going to try," he said.
"We are able to use what we find here," said Ed Sam, national sales director for the racking company, Movie Exchange. There were many products that also had been shown at the VSDA show, "but there also were some different products from local suppliers," he said.
"There was a lot of information here that is very helpful to me because I am going to be getting involved in the video business," said Andrew Reno, operations supervisor at Sunshine Market, Wilkes Barre, Pa. Sunshine plans to put its first video rental department into a new store early next year.
"The industry is growing by leaps and bounds," said a video executive with a major Northeastern retailer. "We have to stay in front of it if we want to stay in it. The East Coast show lends a lot to that learning experience."