Retail Groups Form New Trade Association

Five leading trade organizations representing companies that provide movies, music and video games to consumers have formed the Coalition of Entertainment Retail Trade Associations (CERTA). The group plans to speak out regularly about common concerns and explore potential collaborations, focusing first on public policy matters.

CERTA members – the Digital Media Association (DiMA), Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association (IEMA), National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM), National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), and Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA), represent more than 3,000 entertainment retailers and exhibitors who operate more than 50,000 movie theaters, home video and music stores, video game stores, online music sites, and other retail entertainment establishments.

"We first met after participating in a Federal Trade Commission workshop," said NARM Acting President Jim Donio. "It was apparent that we could maximize our influence on common issues by combining our voices."

Added Jonathan Potter, DiMA’s Executive Director, "Our organizations’ members are the bridges between producers and consumers, so our policy interests are often aligned on issues of consumer education, consumer behavior, and marketplace innovation."

"CERTA’s existence has already led to increased cooperation and support between our organizations," stated IEMA President Hal Halpin. "Surely, we look forward to the results of our combined efforts."

An initial CERTA focus is certain to be on entertainment piracy and how to innovatively combat piracy in the marketplace, as well as through enforcement and education.

"Each of our associations faces different industry challenges. But consumer education and consumer behavior are clearly part of the piracy problem and any potential solution," said VSDA President Bo Andersen. "Legislators must understand that CERTA member companies face unfair and unlawful competition from piracy every day," he said.

In addition to piracy, CERTA will also place early emphasis on consumer awareness with regard to entertainment product content ratings and labeling.

"By partnering, we can use our individual industries’ resources more efficiently," said John Fithian, President of NATO. "Ultimately that should result in more knowledge of the marketplace, more innovation, and more value for consumers."

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