Are those wacky Tiki Bar TV folks drunk? The 4-year old (!) web series launched Tiki Bar TV Club Memberships yesterday (hat tip to Tubefilter), hoping to cajole some coin out of fans in exchange for extra goodies.
The Tiki Bar TV Membership costs $49 and includes:
- 720p HD downloads with full Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound (you can hear the ice tinking in the glass behind you!)
- Bonus footage before it comes out on DVD
- Specials at the store
We certainly won’t knock the Tiki team for trying to make a buck, but will HD episodes be enough to get people to pony up? Tiki isn’t the first to try memberships. Earlier this year, iFanboy asked fans to become members of its community, though it still made all the same content available for free whether you paid or not. But web series have typically relied on a combination of advertising, merchandise and DVD sales to make money. Lately, there’s also been movement into more interactive entertainment. Tiki Bar TV is working on a videogame, and the Ask a Ninja guys released their own iPhone game for sale (10 percent of the proceeds go to to the Deep Search Foundation).
In terms of audience response, the Tikis told Tubefilter that they have “about two days worth of membership cards to print up,” which is pretty meaningless. It’s tough to get people to pay in an age of free content, but being a small, indie producer will most likely work to the Tikis’ advantage, as viewers will feel like they are supporting real people — not some giant conglomerate.
Would you pay for Tiki Bar TV? Is there any web series that you’d pay a membership to support?