VSDA SEEKS TO ATTRACT SUPERMARKETS INTO FOLD

LOS ANGELES -- The Video Software Dealers Association here has formed a task force to stimulate membership among supermarkets. The task force is chaired by Mark Fisher, video sales and operations manager at Stop & Shop Cos., Quincy, Mass., the only representative from a supermarket company on VSDA's board of directors."We'll look at such things as the dues structure, and the benefits utilized and

LOS ANGELES -- The Video Software Dealers Association here has formed a task force to stimulate membership among supermarkets. The task force is chaired by Mark Fisher, video sales and operations manager at Stop & Shop Cos., Quincy, Mass., the only representative from a supermarket company on VSDA's board of directors.

"We'll look at such things as the dues structure, and the benefits utilized and needed. We'll also try to determine if a factor of the problem is simply awareness -- that video executives in supermarkets may not be aware that VSDA exists, or what it does, or what benefits they can gain by becoming a member," he said. Other members of the task force include Bill Griggs, director of store systems at Dillon Stores, Hutchinson, Kan.; Donna McNulty, video merchandiser for Wegmans Food Markets, Rochester, N.Y.; David Ingram, president of Ingram Entertainment, La Vergne, Tenn.; Larry DeVuono, senior vice president and general manager at Sight & Sound Distributors, St. Louis, and Kimbirly Orr, VSDA's director of membership. VSDA is predominantly made up of video specialty retailers and it is the leading trade group in the video field. While top supermarket video executives attend VSDA's annual convention, few have become members and only a handful are active members, said industry observers. Supermarkets will account for 18.8% of all video revenues in 1995, according to SN's State of the Industry Report on Supermarket Video. They will be 22.1% of the video rental business and 13.5% of the sell-through business. In dollars, supermarkets will do almost $900 million in sell-through in 1995 and more than $2.1 billion in rentals for a total in excess of $3 billion.

The group will meet by teleconference prior to the next

VSDA board meeting, which is scheduled for Sept. 20 to 22 in Las Vegas. The task force will report to the board on its plans and timetable, which have yet to be established, said VSDA's Orr. "We would definitely like to see a membership increase from the supermarket industry," said Orr. VSDA will not lose its focus on the specialty retailers, but "as a trade association, we are looking at how to attract a segment that is growing in video, but historically has been a small segment of our membership," she said. "If we have the powerhouses of the supermarket industry joining VSDA, that will make the association stronger and make our voice on behalf of the industry stronger," she said. An early focus of the task force will be how supermarkets can tie in to VSDA's Fast Forward to End Hunger program, said Orr.

Supermarkets can also benefit from another new VSDA service, the statistical VidTrac program, as well as from the association's educational programs and networking opportunities, noted Fisher. VSDA's legislative efforts are as much to the advantage of supermarket video programs as to specialty stores, he said.