Want to reach movie buffs? Forget posting on YouTube – try Zip.tv

After mailing customers a whopping six million DVDs, thus becoming Canada's busiest online video service in just three years, Zip.ca is about to launch Zip.tv. The goal is to not only bypass Canada Post by enabling downloads of movies and TV shows, but also to offer free hosting of user-generated video content.

For marketers who want to engage opted-in movie lovers, Ottawa-based Rick Anderson, president/CEO of Zip.ca, believes there will soon be no better website than Zip.tv. Now in the beta stage of development – with an official launch planned for early this year – the expansion of his company’s core business from not just mailing DVDs to customers but also offering downloads is just the tip of what he considers a very attractive iceberg. ‘We’ve always believed that Internet distribution of video would be a natural fit for Zip.ca.

‘On the Zip.ca side of the business,’ Anderson explains, ‘we’re now up to 5 million page views per month, with no advertising. But on Zip.tv side, we plan to go after advertisers to support all the free stuff on the site. We’re going to offer programming on all three of the models that Internet video is developing around – free, meaning advertising-supported, channel-based subscriptions and pay per view.’

Those options may be a month or two down the road. But Anderson says the opportunity for marketers, or anyone else, to post YouTube-style spots on Zip.tv is already here, and he feels it’s well worth a try. ‘Obviously, the people who come to our website are looking for video entertainment, and we know they’re passionate about it. More than three million ratings of movies and TV shows have been posted on our site so far, and more than 39,000 (movie and TV) reviews have been published on it by about 6,000 people.

‘So there’s obviously a huge audience in Canada of people who are looking for ways to express themselves on the topic of video – writing about it, reading it and so on – and we think many of them will ultimately want to post their own videos. For us, this is another complementary piece to make Zip.ca a one-stop shopping website for people who are interested in video.’

And for marketers in a variety of categories that logically would appeal to movie fans, Zip.tv just might be an ideal showcase – not to mention a mega-flexible playground for their creative teams, even if they don’t get quite as goofy as the jokesters who posted the (well-worth-watching) spot for ‘Yorkshire Airlines.’