VSDA DUES HIKE TO HIT SUPERMARKETS

LOS ANGELES -- The Video Software Dealers Association is implementing a new dues structure that will result in higher dues for many of its supermarket members. The association expects to increase total dues revenues by about 30%. All larger retailer members of VSDA will pay more to belong to the association, which is the only national trade group for the video industry in the U.S. VSDA's annual convention

LOS ANGELES -- The Video Software Dealers Association is implementing a new dues structure that will result in higher dues for many of its supermarket members. The association expects to increase total dues revenues by about 30%. All larger retailer members of VSDA will pay more to belong to the association, which is the only national trade group for the video industry in the U.S. VSDA's annual convention is the biggest event for the industry and it is attended by many prominent supermarket video executives. The smallest retailers, who make up 95% of VSDA's membership, will continue to pay the same $150 for the first store, and $25 for every additional store up to 10. But a big part of the new dues structure is a revenue-based schedule for nonvideo specialty retailers, such as supermarkets. This makes the dues structure "more equitable" than the old system, which imposed dues based on the number of stores involved in video, regardless of the degree of involvement, said Bob Finlayson, VSDA's director of marketing and public relations. "The idea is, this will have a beneficial effect for supermarkets, and encourage more of them to join the organization," said Finlayson. For example, in the past a supermarket chain with 30 stores involved with video would pay the same $450 in dues as a 30-store video company. Under the new system, if the supermarket company grosses $5 million a year in video, its dues will be $600, while the 30-store specialty chain would pay $850. But with higher revenues, the supermarket chain could end up paying more than the specialty retailer. Retailers will be expected to report their gross video revenue when they sign up, said Finlayson. This will be kept confidential, he said. Supermarkets are a small percentage of VSDA's membership, he noted. An exact count is not available because of a problem with VSDA's computer membership program, he said. "VSDA has not substantially changed its dues structure since its inception 15 years ago," said Gary Ross, chairman of VSDA. "If we are to continue to expand and improve member benefits, then we must increase revenues to cover the costs of these programs." Ross is president of Suncoast Motion Picture Co., Minneapolis, and his firm's dues will double from $2,500 to $5,000, VSDA reported. Suncoast operates sell-through-only stores in malls across the country. The new dues structure was approved by the VSDA board of directors Nov. 9 and will become effective with dues payments in 1995. Dues for distributors and associate members will also increase, with larger companies paying more, based on their gross annual sales. VSDA expects about $850,000 in dues income in 1994 under the old system. With the new structure in 1995, the association expects the income to rise $250,000 to $1.1 million. VSDA expects to use the revenues to enhance existing programs and services, and create new ones, said Jeffrey Eves, president. VSDA now derives about 20% of its total revenues from dues, said Eves. The rest comes mostly from the annual convention. "It is important that we not remain so dependent upon the convention as a revenue source," said Eves. "We must diversify by developing other income."