The geeks are putting up the velvet rope.
Geek-culture media brands Nerdist and Geek & Sundry plan to launch a paid membership service this year that mixes exclusive video and other content with perks such as merchandise discounts, access to offline events and the ability to essentially video-conference into a live show with the programs' stars. Their free content will remain available like it always has.
The service, called Alpha, will let members watch exclusive videos from both Felicia Day's Geek & Sundry and Chris Hardwick's Nerdist. Alpha hasn't set a price yet, but fans can pay either monthly or yearly, with an annual membership offering a discount.
A rash of new subscription video services have been launching in the last year, as companies big and small hope to lure in Netflix-like monthly payments from their most dedicated fans. Online natives like YouTube, fellow upload site Vimeo, and online-star network Fullscreen all unveiled subscription tiers, while traditional TV and film companies like Comcast's NBC and Lionsgate are rolling out niche paid video options.
However, Alpha is hoping to distinguish itself from most of the marchers in the subscription video parade by including things like VIP events and live interaction. "We are setting out to make this more of a holistic membership experience that will feel like a community clubhouse," said Hardwick, the CEO and founder of Nerdist.
Alpha will allow members to interact with each other as well as with the content and personalities through live-video capabilities like chat, polling, and allowing viewers to appear live, on-screen during shows.
Both brands are owned by the Legendary Entertainment, which is best known as the movie studio behind films like "Warcraft," "Jurassic World" and "Interstellar."
Alpha is set to launch in the U.S. and Canada later is this year, expected in the fall. At launch, it will be available on desktop computers online and will have an app for Apple devices, but not Android initially. The service will also be available on streaming media boxes but the company wouldn't specify which ones.