The team behind long running comedy web series Tiki Bar TV has always been one to push the boundaries of web production, and now it seems they are keeping up that reputation as they announce a paid subscription model and an interactive video game due out later this year.
The new “Membership” plan, allows fans a slew of privileges including downloads of full HD (720p) episodes in Dolby 5.1 Surround sound, a 15% discount on all official Tiki merchandise and access to members-only events like a recent Happy Hour at Tiki Bar HQ. Priced at $49 annually, enrollment appears to be exceeding expectations. Tiki Bar producer Tosca Musk said so far she has “about two days worth of membership cards to print up.”
Free versions of the episodes will remain available, though fans looking for the highest quality will have to pay up. The freemium model, well known in the web 2.0 startup world, is now being seen as a way to monetize web series which in many ways are thinking like startups themselves.
“We have a core group of awesome, awesome fans who continually want to support us. And we want to have more direct contact with them,” said Musk about the new subscription model. “It’s another way to allow our core fans to support us. There’s only so many [Tiki] mugs they can buy.”
Musk added that the hope is that eventually the full production costs of the show can be funded through memberships. Notable internet VC Fred Wilson is pegged with championing the ‘freemium’ term back in 2006,
“Give your service away for free, possibly ad supported but maybe not, acquire a lot of customers very efficiently through word of mouth, referral networks, organic search marketing, etc., then offer premium priced value added services or an enhanced version of your service to your customer base.”
Also announced from the Tiki camp is an upcoming “Day of the Tiki” video game coming later this year that will feature a blend of a 3D game engine with exclusive video content of Dr. Tiki, Johnny Johnny, LaLa and other cast members. The project is a collaboration with Australian game shop Secret Lab, which pitched the idea to the Tiki producers earlier this year.
“We are combining the power of video with the fun of game – we intend to call this exciting new medium the Video-Game. Gamers and drinkers alike will be thrilled to use Johnny Johnny like a puppet, and fling him into the face of danger,” said Tiki Bar creator-star Jeff Macpherson.
The game will be a brand extension and possibly another revenue stream, similar to Ask A Ninja’s new iPhone game which has reportedly been selling well. There’s a teaser of the game set to drop later today. Newly anointed Tiki Bar members will be the first to beta test the game. For more from Macpherson and Musk, be sure to read our secret-revealing interview aboard the Streamy Award-winning set of the SS Tiki.
UPDATE: Preview of Day of the Tiki game: