Zip.ca

Infobox_Company
company_name = Zip.ca
company_
company_type = Private [ [http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/cgi-bin/sc_mrksv/corpdir/dataOnline/corpns_re?company_select=4206924 Federal Corporations Data Online ] ]
foundation = 2004
location = Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
key_people = Rob Hall, Founder and Chairman
Curt Millar, CFO / COO
Cyril Soga, Vice President
products = Online DVD rental
industry = Electronic commerce
revenue = Not disclosed
num_employees = ~50
homepage = http://www.zip.ca

Zip.ca is an online DVD rental company operating in Canada. It has a database of over 76,000 [cite web | title = Zip.ca and Canada Post Deliver Success | url = http://www.zip.ca/zipnews.aspx?newsID=2018 | publisher = Zip.ca | date = 18 August 2006] unique titles.

Zip.ca is a member of the privately held [http://www.momentous.ca/ Momentous] group of companies, and was owner of the short-lived Ottawa Rapidz baseball team. [cite news | url=http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2008/04/28/ot-ottawa-rapidz-080428.html | publisher=CBC News | accessdate=2008-08-17 | date=28 April 2008 | title=New owner rename-z Ottawa Rapids baseball team]

Corporate history

Zip.ca began its rental operations in February 2004 [cite web | title = The Disks are in the Mail | url = http://www.zip.ca/zipnews.aspx?newsID=988 | publisher = Ottawa Citizen | date = 24 February 2004] , from its base of operations in Ottawa, Ontario. In July 2005 it arranged to provide the fulfillment services for Rogers Video Direct, a new online subsidiary of one of Canada's largest video store chains. By February 2006, Zip.ca had over 30,000 [cite web | title = Forum posting from Zip.ca President | url = http://onlinedvdrentalguide.ca/forums/viewtopic.php?p=8278#8278 | publisher = Zip.ca | date = 02 February 2006] subscribers; currently it has over 35,000 [cite web | title = Alliance Atlantis stakes online space | url = http://www.zip.ca/zipnews.aspx?newsID=2409 | publisher = Playback Magazine | date = 8 January 2006] and is shipping roughly 15,000 discs per day. In December 2006, Zip.ca announced passing the 6,000,000 [cite web | title = Canada's largest online video service ships 6 millionth rental DVD | url = http://www.zip.ca/zipnews.aspx?newsID=2299 | publisher = Zip.ca | date = 15 December 2006] disc rental milestone.

Zip.ca specifics

Zip.ca follows the general model for an online DVD rental company. Some details specific to Zip.ca include:

*"Shipping" - Zip.ca started with a single warehouse and distribution centre, in a Nepean business park in the Canadian capital city of Ottawa, Ontario. To decrease shipment times to other parts of the country, it later introduced what it called a "hybrid" or "gateway" system, where they express-shipped large batches of envelopes directly to Canada Post sorting plants in major cities. These shipments were designed to arrive during the same overnight sorting shift that would have processed them had they been mailed locally, providing something close to local delivery times within those urban areas, and improved delivery times within the region. Returns were sent to Zip.ca in Ottawa, and thus didn't benefit from this arrangement. In 2006 Zip.ca opened distribution centres in Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver to serve those regions directly, and while "gateway" routes may have been kept for areas with no regional warehouse (for instance Manitoba, or the Atlantic provinces), it is not known if these are still in operation.

*"ZipRefill" - To alleviate the return delivery times, Zip.ca will (for qualified customers), send a replacement disc once a customer indicates (via the website) that a disc has been returned to Zip.ca, without waiting for it to actually be received (the ZipRefill is not a guaranteed rental). Only a single ZipRefill is allowed at any one time, which allows a person with, for instance, a 4-disc membership to at times actually have 5 discs in their possession or in transit. Some other Canadian rental companies have incorporated a similar concept, often extending it to multiple active replacements.

*"ZipList" - In August 2006, Zip.ca revamped its ZipList (the customer's movie queue), which is more flexible than its predecessor. With the new queue, each title can be individually ordered at the user's preference. This change was made to address one of the most significant criticisms of the Zip.ca in the past. Movies are not shipped according to customers' ranking, but rather, when titles become available.

*"Shipping Limits" - In January 2006, Zip.ca introduced monthly limits on the number of discs shipped free (customers on the 4-disc plan have a monthly limit of 11, for instance). Customers who exceed these limits can, at their option, continue to receive shipments for the month, but will be charged a fee (currently $2.49) for each additional disc shipped that month. The new policy took effect for existing customers on February 27, 2006. In August 2006, Zip.ca re-introduced some unlimited shipping, but solely on a new 3-disc/unlimited plan, which carries the same price as the 4-disc/11-disc-per-month plan.

Rental plans

Zip.ca imposes a free shipping limit per month, unless the customer chooses the special "Unlimited" plan. When the DVD shipment limit is reached, the customer must choose to pay for additional shipments ($2.49 per DVD) in the billing month or wait the next billing month before Zip.ca continues shipments.

Competitors and the Canadian rental marketplace

On August 30, 2005 Zip.ca announced [cite web | title = Zip.ca and VHQ Online Enter into Purchase Agreement | url = http://www.zip.ca/zipnews.aspx?newsID=529 | publisher = Zip.ca | date = 30 August 2005] that it was buying out the online operations of its main Canadian rival, VHQonline.ca, and has also picked up assets from other companies going out of business.

Most of its competition comes from [http://www.canflix.com/ Canflix] , [http://www.cinemail.ca/ CineMail] and [http://www.videomatica.ca/ Videomatica] . [ [http://onlinedvdrentalguide.ca/recommendations.php Online DVD Rental Guide - The guide to renting DVDs online in Canada ] ]

The introduction of the monthly shipping limits may help some of these companies to attract customers that might otherwise have chosen Zip.ca. Netflix had announced plans to expand to Canada (and the UK) in 2005, but has not yet followed through, possibly due to the increased online competition from Blockbuster (and potentially Amazon.com) in the US market. Blockbuster has stores in Canada, but has not yet announced any plans to extend its online rental operations into the country.

Lost or stolen DVD's are evaluated on a case by case basis, with the majority of claims being resolved. Customers are not normally held responsible for items that were lost or damaged during shipping. Should a customer lose a DVD while it is in their possession, they may be asked to pay the suggested retail price to cover the cost of restocking. Zip.ca does investigate instances of theft or fraud.

References

External links

* [http://www.zip.ca Zip.ca website]
* [http://www.dvdinfo.ca Canadian DVD rental website] - List of Canadian companies (including inventory estimates) and other related information and tools.
* [http://www.onlinedvdrentalguide.ca Online DVD Rental Guide] - Active discussion forums for Canadian DVD rentals; listings and ratings for Canadian rental companies.
* [http://www.freedvdtrials.com/online-dvd-rental/zip-review.htm ZIP Editorial Review] - Review written by commercially biased editors.


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