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VSDA, IEMA announce plans to merge

The board of directors of both the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association and the Video Software Dealers Association have jointly announced plans to merge into a singular, unified trade body.

The board of directors of both the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association and the Video Software Dealers Association have announced plans to merge into a single unified trade body.

Given the similarities between the two organisations and the regularity of joint responses to issues and proposed legislation affecting US entertainment retailers, the move appears to be a perfectly logical step - allowing the trade bodies to pool resources and create a more focused and effective representative for both the video and games industries.

The merger, which was announced by VSDA chairman Bob Geistman and IEMA chairman Rick Vergara, will bring together mass merchants, video specialty stores, video game specialty retailers, online merchants, electronics retailers, entertainment combo stores, and others that retail and wholesale DVDs, console and PC games.

"This is a great development for both the video and video game industries," said Vergara. "The merger will create a more efficient and influential organization to serve the needs of video and video game retailers and distributors. The interests of the membership of the two associations are so closely aligned that we expect a seamless integration."

Working closely with the Entertainment Software Association, both the IEMA and VSDA have been instrumental in preventing the implementation of legislation that would impose severe fines against retailers for selling mature ESRB rated products to minors.

The two organisations jointly hired lobbyist Stuart Spencer to represent them before Congress and other federal agencies earlier this year.

VSDA Chairman Bob Geistman added: "By coming together in one organization, the retailers and distributors of DVDs and video games will increase their collective power and benefit from the business acumen and product knowledge of one another. We are convinced that one association can accomplish even more than two working separately."

The merger is expected to complete shortly, and a new name for the trade body will then be announced.

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