NEW SCENE, NEW SUBSTANCE

LOS ANGELES -- Renamed "National Video Week in Los Angeles," the annual Video Software Dealers Association event, July 8 to 10, will sport a new pricing structure, a renewed emphasis on business issues and a trimmed-down schedule, among other changes and enhancements.The changes stem from the VSDA's joint production of the show with Advanstar Communications, Milford, Conn. The umbrella of National

LOS ANGELES -- Renamed "National Video Week in Los Angeles," the annual Video Software Dealers Association event, July 8 to 10, will sport a new pricing structure, a renewed emphasis on business issues and a trimmed-down schedule, among other changes and enhancements.

The changes stem from the VSDA's joint production of the show with Advanstar Communications, Milford, Conn. The umbrella of National Video Week will include the VSDA's Annual Convention, the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo and the main show floor, which has been re-designated the West Coast Video Show. The educational program will include an Internet conference track, a management training series titled "Boot Camp for Facing Today's Marketplace," and several sessions on copy-depth programs.

"These are times that demand a business event. It's not a party any more," said Diane Stone, group show director for Advanstar Communications. "What people need is a solid business opportunity in terms of taking a look at the products, networking with other retailers in terms of solutions."

Missing from this year's show will be the keynote speakers and lavish parties that attendees have come to expect. While Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Burbank, Calif., will not exhibit, total show floor space will be about the same as in past years due to a large number of new exhibitors, said Bo Andersen, the VSDA's president. "The exhibit floor will be engaging and fully attended. But while there aren't going to be as many monster booths, there will be a real business focus on the floor," he said.

"It is still the global video event in terms of a business focus, in terms of retailers getting together, in terms of the accessing of product and information," said Stone.

One of the most attractive changes for cost-conscious supermarkets is a new pricing structure that will allow attendees to visit the show floor only for a day rate of $69, Stone said. "The business model for the event has gone through some changes in response to what is going on in the industry," she noted.

During the show, Warner Home Video, Burbank, Calif., the VSDA and SN will hold the annual breakfast for supermarket video executives Friday, July 9, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Another important aspect of the show for supermarkets will be the focus on DVD products, which are selling and renting very well for many retailers, Stone noted.

Veteran show-goers will also notice that the event is shorter by one day. This was done primarily in response to requests by exhibitors. The change of the exhibition's name to the West Coast Video Show highlights that it will be more convenient for many retailers than Las Vegas. "Because of the Los Angeles location, there is this huge potential audience. For any supermarket video buyer that is within driving distance of the L.A. Convention Center, it's crazy not to go," said Stone.

A four-session Internet conference track, titled "Internet 101: E-Retailing, The Web and Beyond," will be part of an enhanced educational program during National Video Week in Los Angeles, she added. The four seminars are: "Everything You Wanted to Know About Getting On-Line, But Were Afraid to Ask," "On-Line Retailing for Retailers: How to Make the Internet Work for You," "A Beginner's Introduction to Building a Web Site," and a recap of the first session with opportunity for questions and answers.