The Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) was established in April 2006 through the merger of the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) and the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association (IEMA). EMA is the not-for-profit international trade association dedicated to advancing the interests of the $32 billion home entertainment industry. EMA represents more than 1,000 companies throughout the United States, Canada, and other nations. Its members operate more than 20,000 retail outlets in the U.S. that sell and/or rent DVDs and computer and console video games. Membership comprises the full spectrum of retailers (from single-store specialists to multi-line mass merchants), distributors, the home video divisions of major and independent motion picture studios, and other related businesses that constitute and support the home entertainment industry.
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.
Since 2002, VSDA Canada operations have been managed through an allegiance with the Retail Council of Canada.
In March 2004, VSDA established iDEA, the Independent Dealers of Entertainment Association. iDEA is an autonomous division of EMA for independent video retailers governed by its own Board of Trustees. iDEA's vision is to place independent retailers in control of their own destiny, and its mission is to empower the independent sector of the home video industry to grow their businesses through networking, communication, education, and business tools. iDEA was allocated dedicated funding from Association dues and other revenue sources, assigned staff positions, and delegated authority over all programs, products, and services that are intended specifically to meet the needs of independent video retailers.