LAS VEGAS -- The face of the annual home video and entertainment convention held here July 8 to 10, sponsored by the Video Software Dealers Association, Encino, Calif., changed again this year with a new format and a focus on DVD technology.
With the number of video specialty retailers still declining, along with a reduction in the number of show exhibitors, this year's VSDA Convention & Expo 2000 moved to a smaller venue at the Venetian Hotel and Sands Expo but still provided the product and service updates and networking opportunities that supermarket attendees have come to expect.
"For a scaled-down show it has been a good one," said Greg Rediske, president, Video Management Company, Tacoma, Wash. "We've managed to get quite a lot of business done."
A new feature this year was the DVD Festival, emphasizing the importance of the rapidly growing format to the industry's future.
VSDA officials and show organizers declined discussing attendance figures prior to final tallying, but VSDA president Bo Andersen did say that the pre-registration count was ahead of last year's and that revenues were up as well. Last year's total attendance in Los Angeles hit 11,273, an 11% increase. However, exhibitors and attendees doubted that any records would be broken at this year's event. Many speculated attendance would fall considerably below previous years.
"This year's show isn't even half of what it used to be," said Kirk Mueldener, director, video operations, Hy-Vee Food Stores, West Des Moines, Iowa.
Supermarket video executives still had a strong presence at the show, with about one hundred people attending SN's annual supermarket video breakfast, about the same number as in past years. Among the supermarket companies seen or reported by show exhibitors were: Albertson's, B & M, Bashas', Coborn's, Deerborn's, Furr's Supermarkets, Giant Eagle, Hy-Vee Food Stores, Ingles Markets, K-VA-T Food Stores, Kroger, Marsh Supermarkets, Mega Mart, Roundy's, Schnuck Markets, Video Management Company, Video Two, and Wegman's Food Markets.
The total exhibitor count, as released in the show program, was slightly under 300, down from the 325 reported last year but an ample number for the smaller exhibition hall. Almost 100 exhibitors participated in the adult-video show running concurrently.
The show, produced by Home Video Entertainment Events, a joint venture between VSDA and Advanstar Communications, Milford, Conn., included major studios as sponsors, among them Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Columbia TriStar Home Video, Paramount Home Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, MGM Home Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Video, and Warner Home Video. However, most of these majors maintained only meeting rooms rather than floor booths. Of the lineup only Warner and Buena Vista were on the show floor, along with New Line Home Video, which was not a sponsor. Other companies, like Trimark Home Video and A-Pix Entertainment, kept to the meeting rooms as well.
"This has been a very productive convention," said Denis Oldani, director of video, Schnuck Markets, St. Louis, Mo. "I haven't even checked the show floor. I haven't needed to since I've had appointment after appointment."
"The show has been mixed for us," said Brad Ufer, video merchandiser, Coborn's, St. Cloud, Minn., "somewhat good, somewhat disappointing in that we weren't able to accomplish as much as we would have liked. But then again there's another chance in January."
"The floor was good for us this year," said another retailer. "We've gotten leads on three or four different subjects of interest, and we usually consider a show a success if we get one or two."
"The show's rather small with not that much to see," said Bill Glaseman, video specialist, Bashas', Phoenix, Ariz., "but that's to be expected nowadays. Still, we like the private room activity better than in previous shows. We've kept busy with lots of meetings."
As for the upcoming shift to a January convention, retailers are optimistic. "Running the show with CES in January is a good idea," said one. "We're now handling cell phones, and that will give us an opportunity to check up on them at the same time."