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WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 8, 2004) – Jeffrey Knowles, head of the Government Division and the Advertising Practice at Venable LLP, has been voted Chair-elect of the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA), an organization he helped found in 1990. After serving in this position for a full year he will assume leadership of ERA in fall 2005. Mr. Knowles currently serves as ERA’s Chair of Government Affairs.

The Electronic Retailing Association, originally called the National Infomercial Marketing Association (NIMA), is the official membership organization for the $256 billion direct response television and electronic retailing industry. Mr. Knowles has been actively involved with ERA since its inception. He served as General Counsel and an ex-officio member of the Board of Directors until September 2002, when he became a full voting member.

“Electronic retailing is a complex industry; it is not simply buying media time and advertising a product.” Mr. Knowles commented. “A successful campaign uses multiple channels of electronic retailing – television, Internet, radio – in many cases to drive retail sales as well as home shopping.”

As a sign of the industry’s explosive growth, companies such as Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Procter & Gamble and Pontiac are now using the medium to market their products. These are companies that, in the past, have primarily relied on traditional advertising and distribution through retail outlets. They are now realizing the strategic benefit electronic marketing can have on their bottom line.

“Our organization is at a crucial point in its existence,” Mr. Knowles said. “In marking the industry’s 20th anniversary ERA members are enjoying the tremendous growth of electronic retailing worldwide and are reaching out to giant untapped markets such as China and India. Challenges for our industry include media fragmentation spurred by the proliferation of digital, satellite and cable television, as well as new technology such as TiVo that allows viewers to skip advertisements entirely.”

ERA’s membership has expanded and now represents all aspects of electronic retailing. Major members include the largest television shopping channels – HSN, ShopNBC and QVC, infomercial companies such as the $1 billion company, Guthy-Renker Corporation, affinity markers like GE Consumer Finance and Internet marketers like AOL Interactive Marketing. ERA’s international membership has also grown with companies from more than 45 countries around the globe including Japan’s Fujisankei Communications Group, Germany’s Home Shopping Europe, France’s CanalClub, Colombia’s Televentas SA and The Czech Republic’s TENA. To serve these members worldwide ERA now has a European Board of Directors, as well as Latin American and Asian Councils.

“My main goals for the upcoming year are ensuring the success of the new Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP), strengthening its government affairs program , leading the Association’s strategic planning initiative and continuing to build ERA’s international membership and outreach."

A photo of Jeffrey Knowles is available on request.

One of the American Lawyer’s top 100 law firms, Venable LLP has attorneys practicing in all areas of corporate and business law, complex litigation, intellectual property and government affairs. Venable serves corporate, institutional, governmental, nonprofit and individual clients throughout the U.S. and around the world from its headquarters in Washington, D.C. and offices in California, Maryland, New York and Virginia. For more, visit www.Venable.com.