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Vol. 48, No. 6, June 2008

Vending Features
2008 Smart Card Confab Shines Spotlight On U.S. Market
Tim Sanford

PARIS (June 16, 2008) — Organizers of the annual Cartes Congress (now the Cartes & IDentification Congress) plan a number of innovations for the 2008 show, which is scheduled for November 4 through 6 at the Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center here. The event will focus on e-transactions and ID management, and will focus on the dynamic United States market. Japan was the nation of honor last year… [full story]

CCFMA’s Pacino Encourages Closer Mobile Caterer, Vend Operator Ties
Emily Jed
LAS VEGAS (June 2008) — Vending and OCS operators and mobile caterers had the opportunity to explore common ground as providers of food and beverage to away-from-home consumers during the recent co-located Convenience Caterers and Food Manufacturers Spring Conference and National Automatic Merchandising Association Spring Expo. CCFMA’s Jim Pacino asks vending operators to consider collaboration… [full story]

Coffee Veteran Mosely Explores Effective Selling And Innovation
Tim Sanford
CHERRY HILL, NJ (June 2008) — “Today, we need to deliver not only a great cup of coffee,” said Jim Mosely, sales manager for Southern Refreshments (Tucker, GA). “We have to provide service beyond the cup, and many different products. We have to raise the bar.” The coffee veteran encourages operators to think outside the box to provide total breakroom solutions… [full story]

Heartland Acquires Business Unit Of Alliance Data Systems
Nick Montano

PRINCETON, NJ (June 2008) — Heartland Payment Systems Inc., based here, has completed its acquisition of the network services business of Alliance Data Systems Corp. for $77.5 million. The parties’ definitive agreement for this acquisition was previously announced on May 5[full story]

NAMA’s Geerdes Defends Industry’s Integrity In Letter To The Editor
Emily Jed

CHICAGO (June 12, 2008) — A recent article in the Fort Myers, FL, The News-Press publicized one operator’s unscrupulous behavior. National Automatic Merchandising Association president and chief executive Richard Geerdes responded by sending a letter to the editor to set the record straight about the industry’s professionalism and integrity...  [see letter here]

Pacific Brokerage Merges With Burdette Beckmann
Emily Jed

ORBA LINDA, CA (June 26, 2008) — Pacific Brokerage Co., based here, and Burdette Beckmann (Hollywood, FL) announced that they will merge their organizations effective July 1. This partnership and Burdette Beckmann's recent purchase of the vending division of California-based Elite Associates mark Burdette's entry into the West Coast market… [full story]

Pop N Go And China’s Furong Study Global Sales Network
Nick Montano
WHITTIER, CA (June 19) — Pop N Go Inc. and Shanghai Furong Industry Co. Ltd. are in talks to explore the formation of a joint venture to market “Pop N Go” hot-air popcorn vending machines globally. The companies are also discussing the possibility of manufacturing the machines in the United States, at a new Arizona facility that Furong plans to open in 2009… [full story]

Starbucks And Coinstar Team Up To Automate Espresso Bars
BELLEVUE, WA (June 3) — Concordia Coffee Co., which invented the famous Acorto line of fully automated espresso-based beverage machines, reports that it is working with Coinstar Inc. (also headquartered here) and Starbucks Coffee to place self-service espresso bars in public locations. To date, 86 of the automated kiosks have been installed, primarily in supermarkets… [full story]

Vistar Completes Merger With Performance Food Group
Emily Jed
RICHMOND, VA (June 2008) — The previously announced acquisition of the Performance Food Group Co. by investment affiliates The Blackstone Group and Wellspring Capital Management has been completed. Through the $1.4 billion transaction, Performance Food Group is merging with specialty foodservice distributor Vistar Corp., controlled by Blackstone and Wellspring affiliates… [full story]

Music and Games Features
Akamai Delivers Fast Download Speeds On Ecast Network, Handling 8 Terabytes Of Traffic Monthly
Nick Montano

CAMBRIDGE, MA (June 18, 2008) —Akamai Technologies Inc. reports that faster download speeds are being achieved in managing more than eight terabytes of monthly traffic on Ecast’s network. Two years ago, Ecast Inc. tapped Akamai to boost delivery speeds of its digital music catalog and rich media advertising, eliminating uncertainties about peak bandwidth demands… [full story]

AMI Updates Software With Version 2.7; Attract-Mode Processing And Cloning Highlight Features
Nick Montano
GRAND RAPIDS, MI (June 2008) — AMI Entertainment’s Version 2.7 update incorporates eagerly awaited enhancements that improve jukebox reliability and functionality. Updates to the software include features designed to increase customer satisfaction and promote play, as well as improvements to utilities that will save time and effort for operators… [full story]

Entertainment And Media Companies Face Collaboration Imperative For Next Five Years, Says PricewaterhouseCoopers

LONDON (June 18, 2008) — Entertainment companies hoping to drive growth over the next five must accommodate dramatic changes in devices, markets and consumer behaviors by striking strategic business alliances, according to a report released today by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The report underscores the importance of continuing to extract revenues from traditional business segments while emerging technologies continue to solidify their consumer position… [full story]

Jim DeRose Exits Global VR; Board Names Bayer President, Imeson Chairman
Marcus Webb

SAN JOSE, CA (June 6, 2008) — Jim DeRose has exited Global VR after three years as president and chief executive officer, and almost as long as chairman. GVR’s board named executive vice-president of operations Ken Bayer new president. Patrick Imeson, managing director of Black Diamond Financial Group, GVR’s financial backer, assumes chairman responsibilities… [full story]

New York Lawmakers Pass Bill Allowing 'Free Play' On Coin-Op Games
Nick Montano

ALBANY, NY (June 27, 2008) — Major legislation repealing a 21-year-old discriminatory law, which forbids free games or time on amusement machines, has passed both houses in New York state and is on its way to the governor. If signed into law, New York’s trade could experience a boon… [full story]

Pressure For One Show Mounts; AMOA Expo And ASI Merger Prospects Remain Unclear
Marcus Webb and Nick Montano
NEW YORK CITY (June 2008) — Top exhibiting companies that customarily support both the Amusement Showcase International and the Amusement and Music Operators Association’s International Expo are making stronger, more public demands for the industry’s trade associations to merge their annual equipment expositions and conventions into a single event… [full story]

TouchTunes Prepares For Ax-Free Rocking At U.S. Air Guitar Championships
Larisa Jayne Shewczyk

NEW YORK CITY (June 3, 2008) — For the second consecutive year, TouchTunes Corp. will be the official sponsor of the U.S. Air Guitar Championships. The celebrated counterculture event will be staged in 20 U.S. cities, at which the company will showcase its digital jukeboxes and promote mytouchtunes.com… [full story]

Editorial: Vending
EDITORIAL: One Day At A Time
Tim Sanford

Anyone following the news these days might be forgiven for concluding that no one is able to say, with certainty, just what is going on. Veteran commodities traders differ widely in their assessments of the role that speculation plays in keeping petroleum prices high despite falling demand, and on the worldwide runup in food cost… more by Tim Sanford

Editorial: Music and Games
EDITORIAL: ‘One Show’ Debate Misses The Point
Marcus Webb

The industry’s ongoing argument over “how many shows is the right number” has intensified lately. The whole debate reminds me of a key exchange from a classic war film. “The Battle of Britain” takes place in the summer of 1940. Nazi bombers are flying across the English Channel every day, bombing London to hell as part of the softening-up process before a planned German invasion… more by Marcus Webb

Upfront with the Publisher
UPFRONT: As Long As There Is Free Enterprise, Commissions Aren’t Going Away
Alicia Lavay

For vending, amusement and music operators, commissions are a major cost. Nearly all businesses grapple with pricing and cost containment. Commissions are a less widespread issue, but certainly not unique to us. Concessionaires confront a problem that is almost identical to ours… more by Alicia Lavay-Kertes

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