You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

New name and focus spark confab

VSDA rechristened EMA Home Media Expo

With a new name and broadened focus, the EMA Home Media Expo — the vid biz tradeshow previously known as VSDA — is luring back top DVD retailers for its 26th annual convention at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas this week.

The focus this year: emerging delivery platforms, including high-def DVD and movie downloads.

This will be the first convention under the umbrella of the Entertainment Merchants Assn., formed last year when the Video Software Dealers Assn. merged with videogame trade group Interactive Entertainment Merchants Assn.

EMA initially had planned to add a videogame element to this year’s show, but it backed off after the Entertainment Software Assn. scheduled its revamped E3 for Santa Monica a week before the Home Media Expo.

Traditionally, VSDA was the place where a colorful collection of homevid distribs — everyone from tiny indies to the studios — would rub elbows with officials from rental giants like Blockbuster and Movie Gallery.

VSDA’s relevance waned in recent years as the vid biz moved into selling discs through big retail chains.

But this year, the revamped confab has found traction with this new big-box constituency.

Officials from Target, Costco and Best Buy are due back after skipping the last few Vegas outtings.

The retailers join a range of other outlets confirmed to attend, including online giant Amazon.com, electronics chains Circuit City and Fry’s, specialty chains Trans World and Borders, kiosk company Redbox and discount chain Big Lots.

EMA prexy Bo Anderson attributes the retail traction to a strong focus on emerging delivery platforms this year.

“The retailers that I run into are trying to take a hard look at where this is all going to move and where they can go to meet demand,” he explains.

The opening session will feature a focus group of power users who regularly download entertainment and buy DVDs. EMA has also invited Home Theater Forum and Digital Bits, consumer websites popular with early adopters, to take part in the convention.

Panels will feature execs from leading movie download companies including Movielink, AT&T, Sonic Solutions and Amazon CustomFlix discussing the future of video.

Backers of rival high-def formats HD DVD and Blu-ray are also expected to have some presence at the show, as they did last year.

Not everyone is impressed.

Rental heavyweights Blockbuster and Movie Gallery are expected to have some representation at the show but probably won’t hold many meetings.

And Wal-Mart, the largest DVD retailer, hasn’t attended in the past and won’t be there this year either.

Also bowing out of this year’s show is Disney, which dropped its EMA membership. The studio will hold meetings with retailers off site.

Independent suppliers have stepped up in the place of the studios, bringing in stars to support upcoming DVD releases and throwing parties.

Starz Home Entertainment will hold the opening-night fiesta for attendees, Rhino is hosting a cocktail party, and Image Entertainment is offering a standup comedy night.

EMA will name comedian Katt Williams as Entertainer of the Year and honor Jon Favreau with the Independent Career Achievement Award. Margaret Cho will appear at the awards show as a guest presenter.

“EMA is the chance we get to assess the state of business between the retail world and the studios,” says Virgin senior product manager of movies Chris Anstey. “It gives us the opportunity to look at large-scale initiatives that are in the works while letting the vendors know what our plans are for our business in the upcoming year.”

More Scene

  • DF-10956_R – Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Producer Confirms Bryan Singer's Reason for Leaving, Says 'No One' Was Attached to Play Mercury

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King provided insight into some of the events surrounding the Golden Globe-winning film Saturday at the Producers Guild Awards Nominees Breakfast, including director Bryan Singer’s departure from the film partway through production. “It’s an unfortunate situation, with like 16, 17 days to go and Bryan Singer just had some issues, his [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce

    Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce GLAAD Media Award Nominations

    Mj Rodriguez and Nico Santos are set to announce the nominees for the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards. The “Pose” star and “Crazy Rich Asians” funny man will make the announcement during a live-stream hosted by AT&T and from the AT&T Hello Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 25. “The images and stories recognized [...]

  • Emile Hirsch, Matt SmileyEmile Hirsch hosts

    Emile Hirsch Hosts Smiley Face Art Opening at Mondrian Hotel

    Despite the rain on Wednesday night in West Hollywood, there were plenty of smiles inside the Mondrian hotel thanks to artist Matt Smiley‘s Refresh exhibition. Not only is Smiley his real last name, but several of his paintings and other pieces in the exhibit feature smiley faces. “I’ve seen more smiley symbolism lately, and I’ve [...]

  • Randall Park, left, and Constance Wu

    Constance Wu Wants Her 'Fresh Off the Boat' Co-Star Randall Park to Host the Oscars

    While the Academy may have decided to go hostless for this year’s Oscars, that doesn’t mean the rest of Hollywood has stopped thinking about who would be a good choice for the emceeing gig. Former host Whoopi Goldberg recently suggested Ken Jeong. Jeong said, when he was a guest on “The View,” Goldberg told him [...]

  • 'Schitt's Creek' Stars Reveal Dream Guest

    'Schitt's Creek' Cast Reveals Dream Guest Stars: Oprah, Beyonce and ...

    “Schitt’s Creek” has big dreams. Dan Levy, who stars as David on the series, says his wish list of guest stars includes Oprah, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Gwyneth Paltrow. “All for different reasons, none of whom we’ll get,” he cracked at the Critics’ Choice Awards. For those who haven’t caught on to the “Schitt’s Creek” [...]

  • Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bundchen

    Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen to Be Honored at UCLA Science Gala

    Science can be very glamorous. It certainly will be during Oscar week on Feb. 21 when the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability (IoES) honors Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen for environmental activism at its annual Hollywood for Science Gala. “When I moved to LA, the air was unbreathable. Rivers were catching fire in [...]

  • Don Cheadle and Andrew Rannells Black

    Don Cheadle, Andrew Rannells Talk Snorting 'Coke' on 'Black Monday'

    “Black Monday” show creators David Caspe and Jordan Cahen divulged an intriguing detail to come later in the first season of the new Showtime comedy at its world premiere, held at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Monday night in Los Angeles. “The fourth or fifth episode opens with a sexual harassment seminar, which very well [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content