Since the creation of the PC, creating, producing, and marketing a DVD has become increasingly easier. However, the ability to successfully market a DVD eludes many producers. The “I can do it all” mentality hampers many producers from actually succeeding.
Video equipment and software have become affordable and simpler to operate. The Internet has created a cheap outlet for producers to showcase their product and web-publishing software requires basic computer knowledge. A product like WordPress makes it quick and easy for a novice producer to create a simple marketing website page. Nevertheless, the DVD sits on the shelf collecting dust after all the do it yourself marketing is complete. So what went wrong?
I am not sure when it happened, but producers have forgotten the important part, distribution. Microsoft Corporation dominates the computer operating market by having a large distribution chain. In the 1980’s every computer sold came with MS-DOS. Microsoft understood that they alone did not have the resources to market to the customers. They instead allowed computer companies to market their product for them. What they gained by this was a network of outlets where their product could be purchased and product and company name would be familiar to customers. Competitors found it difficult to compete because Microsoft products were being distributed along with their corporate name, logo and image.
Distribution is the key to selling any instructional DVD. This “I can do it all” mentality is what hurts many producers. Unless your name is George Lucas or business self-help guru Dale Carnegie, whose name alone would draw thousands of readers to their website, let alone major retailers banning at their door to have exclusive rights to distribute their material.
The key to successful distribution is to find outlets that have an established customer base. Now a producer has to understand that the company doing the distribution needs to make money on their product. Otherwise, why would they want to sell the product? Producers need to understand that the retailer is taking the biggest financial risk. Defective products, returns, stolen merchandise, theft, and product storage are just some of the expenses occurred by the retailer.
A producer must understand that just because they have created the world greatest “how to video” it might is not be priced correctly. Many first time producers simply look at what others are selling comparable products for and figure to sell it at that price. That is not the case. Each producer has a development cost. Typically, you have a cost to produce the DVD – not the entertainers or editors time it took to produce. These costs can run in to the thousands of dollars and no DVD would be worth producing unless you are a major movie or TV studio producing millions of DVDs. They too understand that to be profitable they need to keep cost down and sell quantity.
Before producing a DVD, perform a breakeven analysis. Be realistic when developing the projected sales since this maybe your very first DVD. Choosing the right sale price may require sending prototype DVDs to select retailers and gathering data on product appearance, material, and overall use of the DVD. You may find that their input will help you develop a strong product for distribution.
Find distributors who have a large retail distribution network. Have you ever wonder, “Where do trick shops, novelty stores, and season tourist stores buy their merchandise?” Unknown to the retail market are companies called distributors. They can be a manufacture distributor for a single manufacture or a distributor for a multitude of companies. The job of the distributor is to sell directly to the retailer, not the public. They buy in large quantities and help support, educate and promote the product to the retailer. The producer does not do anything, but collect their money and make sure the distributor has the product in stock.
Too often greed sets in, you will see producers undercutting their distributors, offering specials at conventions, selling direct off their websites, and then they wonder why the distributors’ sales are slow. Distributors now have to compete against their producer. Distributors remember this and do not be surprised if the distributor takes a pass on your next DVD project. After all, you are taking money out of his pocket.
Many producers do not do enough research to find distributors, or are too greedy and want to keep all the profit for themselves. However, for the ones that do use distributors, they learn quickly that the headaches of selling, marketing, and customer service is the distributors and retailers responsibilities. All the producers do is collect the money and look for newest upcoming stars to headline in their next how to DVD.