Bell launches virtual video store

It's the first Canadian online service to offer new-release movies and TV shows the same day retailers put them on sale.

Yesterday, Bell Canada introduced the Bell Video Store to offer Canadians more than 1,500 legally downloadable movies and television shows for purchase or rental. It’s the first online service in Canada to offer download-to-own movies the same day they become available in retail stores, and download-to-rent shortly thereafter.

‘The Video Store is offering 24/7 access to the most hit videos in Canada without having to leave the comfort and convenience of home,’ says Kevin Crull, president, Bell Residential Services. ‘Customers can enjoy their downloaded content on their PC, laptop, portable media player or TV using a Media Centre PC, networked X-Box 360 or Windows-compatible digital media adapter.’

Thanks to partnering with major Hollywood studios including Paramount Pictures, Corus Entertainment, Maple Pictures, Eros Entertainment and Image Entertainment, the Bell Video Store will offer online access to hit movies and such new releases as Kite Runner and There Will Be Blood. Also on offer are classic TV shows, Bollywood movies, kids’ entertainment and music concerts.

In what sounds like a shout out to marketers and media planners, Crull adds that ‘The Bell Video Store will also bring additional value to Bell digital TV subscribers. Bell will combine online distribution with its digital television platform to create new experiences for enjoying Bell’s extensive content offerings.’

With both creative and media elements handled by Cossette Toronto, the introduction of Bell’s new service will be promoted primarily via an online advertising campaign. In addition to a presence on the Sympatico portal’s Entertainment section, ads and links will appear on movie-related sites including,, and

As well, Bell will launch a Facebook application called ‘Name that Flick’ in the next few days. The online game invites users to guess the identity of blurred images and earn points toward movie rental downloads. Additionally, a ‘Name that Movie’ contest will bow on the Sympatico MSN portal next week. Similar to the Facebook application, users can view a movie trailer and guess which film it’s from, winning free movie rentals for correct answers. The highest weekly scorer over the next three weeks will win an Archos portable media player.

A number of other upcoming promotional tactics, including co-promotions and festival sponsorships, are still under wraps. But ads will soon appear in all editions of Metro, and several Toronto Transit Commission stations were ‘taken over’ yesterday afternoon.