OTT_X (formerly the Entertainment Merchants Association) was established in April 2006 through the merger of the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) and the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association (IEMA).
Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association
IEMA was founded in the spring of 1997 by Hal Halpin, a former publisher of business magazines for the gaming industry. The mission of IEMA was “to serve the interests of the category’s leading retailers and act as their unifying voice while enabling them to better serve the wants and needs of their customers in a responsible, intelligent, and informed manner.”
IEMA engaged in legislative advocacy on behalf of its members, promoted standardization of computer and video game packaging, facilitated industry-wide adoption of computer and video game ratings education and enforcement, and served as the public spokesperson for computer and video game retailers. IEMA members also participated in the annual “IEMA Executive Summit,” owned and operated by Crest Group, LLC, which brought retailers together with the industry’s leading product manufacturers and suppliers to conduct business, develop relationships, and keep abreast of developments in the industry.
IEMA was managed by Crest Group LLC and headquartered in Wilton, Connecticut.
Video Software Dealers Association
Throughout its 25-year history, VSDA offered the home video industry’s leading trade show, was in the forefront of legal and legislative advocacy on behalf of the home video industry, promoted “best practices” throughout the industry, endorsed and encouraged ratings education and enforcement by retailers, and provided comprehensive research information on the state of the home video market.
VSDA arose out of the Video Software Dealers Advisory Committee of the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM). The committee decided in November of 1981 that a separate association of video software dealers, with its own by-laws and board of directors, should be formed, with NARM providing administrative support. The first meeting of the VSDA board was held in February of 1982.
VSDA and NARM shared staff, administrative expenses, and office space from 1981 to 1991. From 1981 to 1984, funding for VSDA primarily came from NARM. In 1984, VSDA became self-supporting. In 1991, VSDA and NARM effected a complete separation of their operations, staffs, and facilities.
VSDA was headquartered in New Jersey until 1994. In April of that year, the Association moved its headquarters to Encino, California, to be closer to the major locus of the video industry.
In March 2004, the Association’s Board of Directors established iDEA, the Independent Dealers of Entertainment Association. iDEA is a division of EMA focused on the interests of independent video retailers and guided by an advisory council of independent retailers. iDEA’s mission is to empower the businesses in the independent sector of the home video retail industry to grow their enterprises through networking, communication, education, and effective business tools. All EMA members operating fewer than 100 stores are entitled to membership in and participation with iDEA.