|Headquarters||Ottawa, Ontario, Canada|
|Key people||Robert Hall, Founder and Chairman
|Products||Online DVD rental
Movie rental kiosks
Zip.ca began its rental operations in 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 subscribers; currently it has over 47,000 and is shipping over 24,000 discs per day. In December 2006, Zip.ca announced passing the 6,000,000 disc rental milestone.
2010s: kiosk debut
Zip.ca's movie rental kiosks were introduced in 2010.
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 27 February 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.
- Lost or stolen discs - Customers are not held responsible for items that were lost or damaged during shipping. If discs are lost multiple times, however, Zip may choose to suspend a customer's account until they agree to pay for any future discs which are lost, stolen, damaged in transit, or otherwise not received by Zip. 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.
|Monthly disc shipments||Discs included||Blu-ray|
|Up to 2||1||No|
|Up to 11||4||Yes|
|Up to 16||6||Yes|
|Up to 22||8||Yes|
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. In November, 2011, Zip.ca began charging a $1 rental fee for each Blu-ray disc. The Blu-ray fee was removed in October, 2012. Blu-ray is not available on either of the 1-DVD plans.
Canadian rental marketplace
On 30 August 2005 Zip.ca announced that it was buying out the online operations of its then main Canadian rival, VHQonline.ca, and has also picked up assets from other companies going out of business.
- Federal Corporations Data Online
- "Zip.ca and Canada Post Deliver Success". Zip.ca. 18 August 2006.
- "New owner rename-z Ottawa Rapids baseball team". CBC News. 28 April 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2008.
- "Ottawa Rapidz go under". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 30 September 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2008.
- "The Disks are in the Mail". Ottawa Citizen. 24 February 2004.
- "Forum posting from Zip.ca President". Zip.ca. 2 February 2006.
- "Alliance Atlantis stakes online space". Playback Magazine. 8 January 2006.
- "Canada's largest online video service ships 6 millionth rental DVD". Zip.ca. 15 December 2006.
- "Zip.ca and VHQ Online Enter into Purchase Agreement". Zip.ca. 30 August 2005.