VIDEO INDUSTRY LOOKS TO THE EAST

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Two weeks from now, the video industry's attention will turn to the East as its second-biggest trade show, the East Coast Video Show, takes place here from Oct. 8 to 10.Attendance has been relatively steady in the past, even last year when it was held shortly after the Sept. 11 tragedies, although the number of supermarkets tends to fluctuate from year to year. Projections on

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Two weeks from now, the video industry's attention will turn to the East as its second-biggest trade show, the East Coast Video Show, takes place here from Oct. 8 to 10.

Attendance has been relatively steady in the past, even last year when it was held shortly after the Sept. 11 tragedies, although the number of supermarkets tends to fluctuate from year to year. Projections on the success of this particular event are difficult to determine because of a high percentage of walk-up registrations, according to Carrie Dieterich, vice president of marketing and industry relations, Video Software Dealers Association, Encino, Calif., one of the show's organizers.

Theresa Daniels, video manager at McMaken's Super Markets' McVideo in Brookville, Ohio, said that while there are no current plans for her store to be represented, she would like to be there.

"We are discussing it. I have never attended before because we always went to WaxWorks' [an entertainment distributor based in Owensboro, Ky.] trade show, but they are not having one this year. We are a small company. Whether it's in the budget, we'll have to see but I would like to attend. It's something I've always wanted to do," she said. If she attends, Daniels would be looking for a strategy for competing as a small business in an industry that is increasingly consolidating. "How the small businesses can stay in business and how we can help the little distributors that the studios are pushing out, that's my concern," she said.

VSDA's Dieterich said the exhibition area will change little from last year's show, which hosted 100 exhibitors from both the mainstream and adult video parts of the industry. Among the supermarket companies now registered to attend are K-VA-T Food Stores and Fischer Foods.

Like the national video show in July, the East Coast show highlights upcoming video releases and hot new products and services, as well as offering trend seminars. What is unique about ECVS, Dieterich points out, is a heavy focus on networking. The business tools and product information available, while important, are closely tied to the sense of regional community, she said.

"If attendees walk away from the show with a couple of successful business deals and a couple of new ideas based on the seminars that we have, that would be well worth their investment of time and money," she said.

Attendance for the show comes primarily from the region around the show's location in the Mid-Atlantic states, but attendees come from as far north as Canada, as far south as the Carolinas, and as far west as Ohio, Dieterich said.

This year's seminar highlights that supermarket retailers may find particularly applicable, Dieterich pointed out, include a program titled, "The Balancing Act: VHS and DVD," moderated by Mark Fisher, VSDA's vice president of membership and the former head of Stop & Shop's video program.

"I think anybody carrying product has to find the right mix [of these formats] for themselves and for their customers," Dieterich stated.

The seminar will look at how much space stores should allot to each format, how to budget, and how to gauge if you have achieved the right combination for customer satisfaction, she added.

Another highlight will be the results of the best practices study that the VSDA will reveal at the show with Gerke and Associates, said Dieterich. Gerke's Dave Benish will present the findings at a seminar Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 9.

This year, the show's opening session features "A Conversation with Jeff Daniels." The actor is slated to receive the VSDA's second Independent Career Achievement Award for his career in independent films as an actor and, most recently, as a director.