On Aug. 7, the very first thing I did after enduring some exotic dental work was to celebrate with a Nestles Crunch Bar. Yum! Then, the cell phone rang and our ad man Barry Zweben told me Play Meter was closing shop. Whoa! We’d pretty well figured that was the case after their two writers had emailed looking for work here at RePlay, and then when follow up calls and emails to their headquarters in New Orleans went unreturned. But while this news may not mean a ton to many readers, it did to us. Play Meter was our major competitor, and since Vending Times (VT) had previously decided to publish only every two months, that made RePlay the only monthly now serving amusement machine people on “our side of the pond.”
I often invoke the name Bert Betti to make a point, as I’m going to now. When VT added a jukebox and games section to their vending machine periodical back in the mid-’60s, Bert said it would be good for me over the long haul. This was when I worked for Cash Box magazine whose only competitor until then was Billboard. Bert said competition kept you focused and more attentive to the quality of your product. The buyer benefits. It’s why the American system is so great.
So, does the departure of Play Meter mean we don’t have competition? Not really. In this digital age, there are online newsletters coming at you from all sorts of places, ours included (we publish one each Monday, Wednesday and Friday). The manufacturers, whose ads float the boat, all have active sites soliciting machine sales. Then there’s that “pipe-clogger” called email. Yes, there’s competition facing a printed business magazine like RePlay. But gratefully, there are numerous people in this industry who prefer the convenience of a printed publication to the Internet, and for valid reason. And, a lot of them are the fellows who sign the checks for those new machines and stuff, so we have plenty of “dues paying” customers getting our magazine every month.
Some people in the business might think we’re the “lucky ones.” Well, someone once defined “lucky” as “experience meeting opportunity.” I had well over 10 years of experience producing magazines for the coin-op crowd by the time Bally came out with Night Rider and Taito with Space Invaders…the opportunity! I also have great people on staff like Key, Ingrid and Barry who together have over 100 years of coin-op magazine experience, as well as Casey of Nevada’s famous Minter route family. So, thanks for this new opportunity. And if it’s in our power, we promise never to let you or this wonderful industry down!