Discs in Overdrive:
Video Direct Corp. embodies the type of company that’s thriving on the Internet: it’s young, aggressive and chockfull of products that the average cyberspace surfer breathes for. The Lon Branch, New Jersey company distributes educational and instructional videos and CDROMs, offering approximately 8,000 different products on everything from academic studies and music instruction to travel.
“Our products really are perfect for the Internet”, says Peter Heumiller, president of Video Direct. “We’ve been besieged by requests for the discs and videos.” That demand is partly explained, he says, by a study from Forrester Research, which found that 14 percent of all products sold on the Internet are computer programs and educational and instructional videos.
Indeed, the Internet was initially created as an educational, rather than a commercial tool. Back in the 1980’s, the Department of Defense set up the Internet to provide interconnection of its information resources and researchers. Many Net surfers now are attracted by the academic material provided by those with commercial interests.
“It makes perfect sense,” says Heumiller of the success of his company and the like-minded ones. “People who are Internet users are information seekers. That’s why they’re on the Internet in the first place.” Ethan Schneider, the company’s marketing director, concludes, “If you are selling informational products, it only makes sense that they are going to be attracted”.
Heumiller points out that another advantage of marketing on the Internet is that a business is able to instantly update customers on its new products and services. “Products become discontinued, or prices change. New products come out every day,” he indicates. “We can constantly bring the evolving world of information products to consumers.”
The company has bloomed since 1993, when Heumiller notes, it was only a wholesale distributor, offering a business package to people who would purchase the company’s catalog and distribute its products. Now it has a common home page with its distributors, who can use the company’s site to sell products and advertise their own businesses.
“We eventually see our Internet business becoming the main focus of what we do here,” says Heumiller. Although the company’s Internet catalog was just introduced last April, by October of last year, 15 percent of the company’s retail sales were generated off of sales on the Internet, according to Heumiller. And he says, “That’s really just getting going. I would project that it could be as high as 5- percent or more in 12 months.”
Oscar Braun founder and CEO of Oscar Knows, December 1996