VSDA Convention on shaky ground

Next year’s Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) convention probably won’t be held in January as scheduled, because holding the show in Las Vegas concurrent with the Consumer Electronics Show didn’t turn out to be as advantageous as initially thought, organizers say.

“There was some dissatisfaction with the January date,” says Bo Andersen, president of the VSDA. “For retailers who came to Las Vegas only for our show, the costs went up because of CES; and on the mainstream supplier side, they weren’t making any announcements at that time of the year about what they were going to do going forward.”

Andersen says the Adult Entertainment Expo, held concurrently at the Venetian Hotel and Casino, will go on as scheduled.

Meanwhile, he says, Home Entertainment Events, the joint venture Advanstar Communications and the VSDA formed to produce the association’s annual convention and trade show is exploring other options. One would move the event back to July, its traditional time period until this year.

Other reasons may also have come into play. Retail consolidation has dwindled the video retail specialist pool that has traditionally accounted for the bulk of convention attendance, sources say. That, along with the growth in direct buying and revenue-sharing deals between studios and large retailers, has diminished studio interest in purchasing exhibit space.

At the most recent VSDA convention, last January in Las Vegas, exhibit space hit a 15-year low, with most of the participating studios renting meeting rooms instead of erecting lavish booths. Only Buena Vista Home Entertainment and Universal Studios Home Video had booths.

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