When it comes to online DVD rental stores, Netflix seems like it's the only game in town. There are, though, a number of smaller DVD rental companies that target their services to niche audiences. To start your own online store, you will need to create an original marketing concept to attract customers and a unique selection of DVD movies to win over savvy viewers.
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Figure out a target audience. The difficulty with breaking into the online DVD rental business is that it is dominated by large companies, such as Netflix and Blockbuster Video. Not only do they offer a large selection of movies, their sheer size allows them to deliver movies rapidly to anyone in the country. You will have to target a movie audience and convince them that you will be able to provide them with a superior service that better serves their tastes. Consider age groups, gender, local preferences and independent niches. Look at other small online rental stores, such as IndiePix and Facets Multimedia.
Plan the scale of your business. Unless you have a large source of capital, you are probably going to start small and build up your service. Determine if you are going to start in just your city or if you are going to offer delivery to a larger region. The number of DVDs you buy depends on the focus of your company's offerings. If you plan to offer mainstream titles, you will probably need a large number of the most popular movies. If you plan to focus more on a niche market, you will need a smaller quantity of a broad selection in that niche.
Buy DVDs. You don't need to purchase special DVDs to rent them. Simply find the lowest-priced retail product. If you plan to buy large quantities, contact wholesale distributors. Wholesale distributors include Baker and Taylor, Waxworks/VideoWorks, Video Products Distributors and Ingram Entertainment. Other reputable wholesale distributors can be found in trade magazines such as Home Video Magazine.
Get a bulk mailing permit. Contact your local post office to apply for a bulk mailing permit, which allows for lower postage costs. Depending on the quantity of DVDs you will be mailing out, you can use precanceled stamps, a postage meter or permit imprint to make mailing easier and cheaper.
Complete necessary new business basics. Create a website, get required permits and licenses, get a merchant account to accept payment and find a location large enough to operate from and to store the DVDs.
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