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May 18, 2016

AVN’s VIBE Program: Bringing Buyers and Sellers Together

LOS ANGELES—The VIBE program successfully completed its fourth year at AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in January. The Very Important Buying Executive program is an invitation-only meeting program “placing the best adult manufacturers with the top adult retail buyers, e-tailers, distributors, anyone who sells adult products,” according to program director Timothy Ferencz. VIBE started as a DVD sales program in 2013 and was expanded to include novelties in 2015. “This year we sold out. There was a 30 percent increase in exhibitors and a 33 percent increase in buyers,” Ferencz reported. “On the DVD side and the novelty side we had 65 meetings total over four days. We’re the largest meeting program out there. “We’re a one-stop shop,” Ferencz said. “If you’re a buyer who qualifies, all you have to do is get to the hotel. We take care of your rooms, we take care of your meals, we do your entire schedule, you get AVN Awards tickets, you get a VIP cocktail party, you get treated like a VIP. Once you get in, everything is taken care of here for you.” Scheduling and organization are arranged by the VIBE personnel. “They get 20-minute meetings. We organize everything so the buyers go from room to room, often on the same floor,” said Ferencz. “There are about a dozen meetings a day, breaks for breakfast and lunch, and we have the VIBE lounge where they can relax and network.” Buyers were pleased by their experience at the 2016 VIBE. “VIBE is such a strong program because of the level of participation it attracts,” Brian Sokel, COO of TLA Entertainment, told AVN. “This year I saw studios participating that have never participated in the past (or at least haven’t over the last few years) so to see the VIBE team working to bring in new players shows their dedication to buyers. It really is a key program for us and our marketing and planning efforts annually.” “VIBE was back and better than ever this year,” said Bob Mosca, CEO of Jackson Supply Company. “Great to see the DVD business well represented at VIBE besides the novelty side. A great way to start the year off on a positive note. Not just that the timing of the show and the content was excellent, but the whole process was also well executed.” Suppliers, too, were pleased with the results they got from participating in VIBE. Hugo Harley, managing director of Media Partners, told AVN, “One of the things we learned at VIBE was that people weren’t sure what ‘Media Partners’ is but they knew our ‘Cocky Boys’ line. Getting that feedback three times in the first day from new customers, we decided we have to change it. We love the format. It’s not seeing the same people over and over, and we can re-assess. We tweaked our approach at VIBE last year and increased our sales for a couple of different companies by 10 to 20 percent. “Seeing a person, meeting the salesperson, being able to talk to them instead of phone or email. Twenty minutes is great to explain who you are and give a person the rundown on what you can do for them. When you’re sitting there in that room with them, you get things that will improve business. We got a better understanding of our own business and how we can help other people. We want to help our business partners make more money and hearing about it is very, very helpful.” “It was the best show we’ve had in the last three years,” General Manager Danny Gorman of Juicy Entertainment said. “We did a lot of pieces. It was organized and everybody was in a positive mood. It seems like the DVD business is getting revitalized. We had people from Europe we hadn’t seen before, opened up a bunch of new accounts. It went really well.” “It was fantastic. Really smooth and well run,” Wyatt Case, vice president of sales at Smash Pictures, told AVN. “I didn’t know what to expect. It was my first time. I’ve been used to the booths downstairs, and being away form the smoke and the noise and being able to talk to people one-on-one—and understand each other with clarity—was a big, big plus. In addition to meeting people I already knew, we got new business. Finding out what they were about and how we could work together. We’re doing it next year.” “I think this was the best show in years,” Devil’s Films VP of Sales and Production Steve Volponi said. “They really overachieved with the meetings. They had us booked ... It was almost exhausting,” he added with a laugh. “It was definitely the busiest we’ve been at the VIBE. We did a lot of business. We got some people from Germany that we hadn’t been dealing with. We were packed. It was bangin’.” Buyers are qualified by a minimum annual sales volume and approval by the suppliers. “When someone wants to be a part of the program they can fill out a form and we send it out to the manufacturers,” Ferencz said. “We measure our success by the degree of participation,” Ferencz said. “The number of people we have participating, and the number of people we have trying to get into the program. By word of mouth, we’ve grown 30 percent every year, so that tells me that the program is valuable to both manufacturers and buyers. They can get their business done for six months to a year over four days.” Retailers and suppliers who are interested in participating in the VIBE program during the 2017 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo, which will take place January 18-21 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, can contact VIBE Program Director Timothy Ferencz at (818) 718-5788 x 128 or by email at timothy.ferencz@avn.com.

 
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