Will Canadian marketers boldly go to AAC’s Blogtv.ca to engage consumers in real time?

As Canada's first and only live-video user-generated site winds up its first month of operation, no one knows whether marketers were eavesdropping as consumers expressed their passions and concerns. But so far, none has grabbed the chance to get in on the act.

‘We’re moving into a media world that’s increasingly two-way, a kind of republic of users, as opposed to a monarchy of programmers,’ Alliance Atlantis SVP digital media Claude Galipeau tells MiC. He’s describing why his company decided to leapfrog the static YouTube-style stage and instead launch Blogtv.ca – Canada’s first, and so far only, site on which anyone with a webcam can broadcast in real time, 24/7, as well as record and post their shows.

‘We wanted to get into the user-generated content space to engage with audiences in a more interactive way,’ Galipeau explains. That’s why, early last month, AAC partnered with GS New Media in the bold venture. An earlier iteration of the Tel Aviv-HQ’d company, called Tapuz, pioneered what’s believed to be the first live-video social media site on the planet in 2004. To his knowledge, there was only other such site (Stickem in the US) until Blogtv.ca arrived.

Since the site’s Dec. 5 debut, Galipeau says several hundred people have signed on as registered users, and either broadcast whatever their heart desired live, or posted videos on the site. ‘I think this is a very, very compelling application, and people who’ve used it get addicted to it. People are talking about everything from technology to the Toronto Maple Leafs,’ he adds. ‘There are a couple cooking shows, a lot of blogs about pets and some fairy tales being read. The most viewed blog so far is by a diabetic who talks about injecting herself with insulin. The second-most popular is one about technology. And the third most-viewed one is me as a Martian warning the world that Blog is about to take over their minds.’

For advertisers, Galipeau says ‘this is the first social media site in Canada where you can actually engage with Canadians live as they’re using a site.’ Although he cautions that marketers will never be allowed to merely promote their products on Blogtv.ca, advertising on the site is now being sought by his sales team.

AAC’s marketing plans for it new site will kick off later this month, focusing mostly on viral and event-based initiatives. First up is a Jan. 17 live interview on Blogtv.ca with popular filmmaker/musician/poet/actor Henry Rollins. Following that, in late January, there will be a live event to bring the site’s most enthusiastic bloggers together. And on Feb. 2, the site will carry an exclusive live broadcast of a sold-out Toronto concert by DJ Luke Fair. Some paid media (about which Galipeau declined to be specific) will follow, with Toronto agencies Taxi doing the creative and High Road handling the PR, while media buys will be done in-house at AAC.

Which marketing sectors does Galipeau believe could best profit from advertising on Blogtv.ca – and maybe even being nimble enough to try dialoguing live with users? ‘The electronics sector, packaged goods companies that are trying to reach the youth market, and really any company that’s interested in getting into the social media space, as well as and trying to engage consumers with event marketing,’ he replies.

Asked whether plans for Blogtv.ca might be altered by last week’s sale of AAC to CanWest Global Communications, Galipeau says he is confident that the site will continue operating in the foreseeable future.