Delivering the Martial Arts – Martial Artist Turned Entrepreneur Carves Out a Niche in the Competitive World of on-line DVD Rental

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Bushido DVD, a small DVD rental business catering to martial artists, is going head to head with the likes of Netflix, Wal-Mart and Blockbuster in a David vs. Goliath battle for a piece of the competitive online DVD rental market and doing surprisingly well. The reason? Specialized titles! Bushido DVD is providing its members with the lower priced rental option for expensive instructional DVD titles not offered by the likes of Netflix and Blockbuster. In the process, the company is making friends, enemies and profits.

Most martial artists are familiar with the ubiquitous advertisements for expensive training videos that appear inside martial art’s magazines and promise to reveal the secrets of exotic arts to them if they would only send $49.95 plus shipping and handling to some P.O. Box in Florida.

In fact, a brief survey of most mainstream martial art's magazines will reveal a plethora of advertisements for inordinately expensive instructional videos that cater to the magazine's curious and captive readership. Many of these ads are quite sophisticated and disguised as actual articles within the magazine. Indeed, it is fairly obvious that the bulk of ad revenue and magazine content comes from these martial art's instructional video producers and distributors. This is a highly specialized, niche market. It is not every consumer who needs or wants a 12 volume DVD set dealing with the finer points of Monkey Kung Fu.

Peter Maddrell, the founder of Bushido DVD Inc., spent many dollars acquiring martial art's instructional DVDs during his early training days. "Like all new students to the martial arts, I was very curious about the different forms and styles of martial arts and I wondered which one was best for me. I purchased several expensive instructional videos and was not always satisfied with the quality of the product I received. If I didn't like what I received, I was pretty much stuck with it. This was before ebay existed! I remember asking myself why video stores were not renting these titles. Of course, the answer was clear: the market for these videos was far too specialized to support a brick and mortar video store!"

In 1998 something happened that would forever change the world of DVD rental. Netflix introduced the world to on-line DVD rental – it was a classic example of the right idea at the right time. Netflix charged one flat fee for unlimited monthly rentals and there were no late fees, no matter how long you kept a movie. After subscribing to the service, Peter quickly realized what a convenient and - most importantly - cost effective service it was for him. Peter wondered if this particular business model could be applied to the martial art's instructional video market. He decided that it could, and prepared the business plan for the company that would soon be known as Bushido DVD.

Just like Netflix, Bushido DVD provides its members with an unlimited number of DVD rentals with free shipping and no late fees for one low monthly fee. "I think giants like Netflix have proved this business model to be of value to the consumer" says Maddrell. He adds, "when our members calculate their actual price per rental they are amazed at the money they are saving versus other rental options, or by purchasing these titles from our suppliers. I used to think that all those positive comments you would read about on various websites from happy customers were just manufactured by creative web designers -now I know that they are completely legitimate! I get many comments every week thanking us for the unique cost saving service we are providing members of the martial art's community."

As Peter will admit, his business works because it is internet based. He explains, "If we were a brick and mortar store, this sort of business would never survive. Because of the internet, we have access to the entire North American marketplace and are in a position to increase our rental revenue while keeping our costs down."

The success of Bushido DVD has not come without its costs. "We were plagued by lost and damaged DVDs during the intial launch of our business, as well as website glitches and legal threats. It turns out that some producers were not happy with us providing our members with the lower cost rental option for their DVDs" explains Maddrell. "We received a few threatening letters until our lawyers silenced them with a brief, but explicit, explanation of our firm legal grounds for renting our DVDs under U.S. Copyright Law."

Despite these invevitable growing pains of any new business venture, Bushido DVD has carved out a successful niche in the competitive world of on-line DVD rental. Maddrell outlines his plans for his young company: "Our goal is to expand our membership so we can add to our incredible library of martial art's instructional DVDs, tournament titles, classic kung fu films, samurai flicks and Japanese anime. However, no matter how large we become, we will never sacrifice the most important ingredient in our business - customer service."

Bushido DVD Inc. was founded in February, 2005 and its website was launched in August, 2005. They currently have members in nearly every American State and Canadian Province.


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