YOUNGSTOWN — One million people who ride buses each day in Los Angeles County have a small Youngstown company to thank for the programming they watch.
And they do.
Craig Zamary, president of Green Energy TV, said he’s been taking plenty of calls and e-mails from Los Angeles-area residents since his company started providing videos for the buses last month. Most of the people want to learn more about the company or just pass along their appreciation.
“It’s free marketing, and it’s expanding our audience,” Zamary said.
Green Energy TV operates a Web site that allows people to post videos on environmental issues so they can be seen by people worldwide. It has nearly 1,000 videos, which is double what it had a year ago.
The most-watched videos on the site are of an Australian inventor’s inexpensive wind turbine for rooftops, a California company’s efforts to create biodiesel fuel from algae and a French company’s attempt to power cars on compressed air.
Transit TV, a California company, is selecting videos to be part of a one-hour loop that runs constantly on about 80 percent of the 2,100 buses operated by the Los Angeles County Transit Authority. Also included on the loop are trivia about famous people and presidents, a word puzzle and NASA news.
“Green Energy TV falls right in with the kind of content,” said Maurice Venegas, chief executive of Transit TV. “We’ve been called PBS on wheels.”
Zamary said he’s not getting paid to provide videos for the buses, but he thinks it will draw more people to his company’s Web site. Posting and watching videos are free, but Green Energy TV draws revenue from advertising and partnerships.
The fact that people in environmentally conscious Southern California are turning to Green Energy TV for the latest information about green industries shows the two-year-old company has a bright future, said Jim Cossler, director of the Youngstown Business Incubator, where Zamary’s office is located.
“A company from Youngstown, Ohio, showing people in Los Angeles how to be green — that’s not supposed to happen,” he said.
Zamary is expecting more surprises from his company.
He said he has signed a deal that will place Green Energy TV videos on a new channel that will be launched on DirecTV, a satellite-television provider, in the next month.
He said a Florida company that is providing content for the environmental channel is compensating Green Energy TV for the videos, but he did not want to disclose how much.
He said he expects more content deals that will provide his company with revenue.
Drawing people to the Web site will remain a critical part of the company’s efforts, however.
He said his goal always has been to provide an online site that could compete with television channels, even ones such as Discovery Channel’s Planet Green, a 24-hour environmental channel launched last year.
“It’s like David and Goliath, but the advantage of a small business is being able to make quick decisions,” he said.
Right now, Zamary operates the business as its only full-time employee, although he recently brought on a New York executive to oversee advertising and sponsorships. Zamary also is assisted by his wife, Lucy, three partners who have stakes in the company, and interns at times.
Zamary, who lives in North Lima, started the company after selling Xzamcorp, a Boardman quality-assurance business, in 2006. That company makes phone calls to hotels and other businesses and then records how customer friendly the experience was.
Zamary created Green Energy TV after seeing a need for a site that aggregates “green” videos. He said he knew he was onto something when General Electric uploaded five videos to the site in the first two weeks.
He said he has heard some stories of how the videos are helping people and the environment. One inventor told Zamary he received $1 million in funding after he posted a video of his idea to use water from a bathroom sink to flush a toilet.
A blogger on the Green Energy TV site said he was inspired by a video on how to power a television by pedaling a stationary bicycle. He wrote that he built his own system and has lost 80 pounds watching television.