As any concerned manufacturer, distributor or even customer can tell you, much has changed about how products are marketed, specified and purchased in the entertainment industry.

Insight into the trends in buying and specifying habits of a broad cross-section in the entertainment industries will be revealed with the publication of a significant new study entitled How Customers Specify and Buy Expendables, Equipment and Systems in The Entertainment Industries. The study is sponsored by ESTA, the Entertainment Services and Technology Association. It is believed to be the first study of its type ever conducted by a non-partisan, not-for-profit sponsor in the entertainment industries.

The study was managed by an ESTA committee of industry volunteers supplemented by the technical skills and guidance of a well known market research firm, Stiernberg Consulting.

The database of customers and specifiers prepared for this study is easily the most comprehensive and wide-ranging ever used. Utilizing its member resources, ESTA assembled the data base primarily from manufacturers, dealers and publishers.

Two survey methods were used: several thousand customers and specifiers were reached by e-mail and asked to complete the survey on-line. Several thousand more received mailed surveys. Two separate questionnaires were created by the ESTA committee, one for buyers and specifiers of expendables and another for buyers and specifiers of equipment and systems. The surveys not only asked about buying habits and patterns but also about the customer's demographics, seasonality of budgeting and buying and favorite sources of product information.

The study report will include tabulated answers to all the questions, cross-referenced by markets and other demographics, as well as verbatim comments from the supplemental interviews. The report is scheduled for publication in July and will be available to ESTA members at $250 (for companies with less than 25 employees) and $500 (for companies with 25 or more employees). The report is also available to non-members at $500 or $1,000, depending on your number of employees. You may enter pre-publication orders for the study by going to www.esta.org/buyingsurvey or contacting the ESTA office at info@esta.org, or by phone at 212-244-1505.