Would You Pay for Tiki Bar TV?


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?



Love Tiki’s parodic adventures. If I can keep the ship afloat and get more Tiki’s, it’s definitely worth it for one of the earliest shows starting around the time of Rocketboom.


Use the Tikibar Show as an Advertisement platform. I love the show and I think that if its marketed to the right liqueur companies/distributors they would be a hit! I also would go the memorabilia route or even a random drawing for $2-5 donation.


much luck Tiki. It’s an uphill struggle against millions and millions of free sites.

Madison Paige

As a producer of internet TV I cant blame them for trying but I think its probably not a good sell. The extras offered are not that much, (HD, bonus footage and special in the store are not IMO going to do it).

Perhaps they should consider some of these options:

1 – an actual speaking role on an upcoming episode. We did this rather successfully (although its wasn’t to raise money but for publicity) on a courtroom drama we produced in 2007. We held an online audition contest but Tiki might consider making it a simple drawing that only members are eligible to win. They must also realize that they’ll have to fly the person to their location and put them up during their stay. Never underestimate peoples desire for 15 minutes of fame. Reality show producers don’t and look how well that works out for them.

2 – Offer some signed memorabilia from the set or a photo or something. Maybe give away something monthly but then once a year there’s a drawing for one lucky person to win a trip on the town (or in this case a beachside tiki celebration) with the cast and crew.

3 – Members could get invitation to the wrap party and season “preview”

You have to think outside the box. People wont pay for what they don’t view as valuable but there are examples all over the new of people paying for things they do find valuable. The key is to understand what your audience find valuable and sell it.

Schlomo Rabinowitz

Good on them for even believing enough in their audience that they feel they will pay to keep the show going. Not sure if there is enough reason to actually pony up the price other than understanding that they are just a couple people trying to work and not a big company.

I think that’s really the main reason to donate.

I’d pay Wreck and Salvage to make me TV Carnage-like hourlong programs. Especially if mailed to me on DVD.

I’d pay Cool Hunting Videos for more in-depth pieces as well. Especially if they coupled it with limited edition works from the artists they profile.

Davis Freeberg

I can’t knock them for trying to get fans to help support the show, but it really annoys me that they are selling HD as a “premium” service. Cable and Broadcasters do the same thing. Can you think of any other business who takes their final product and degrades it so that their customer’s experience is worse? I can’t, but apparently it’s the standard with television. I’d understand if it cost them a bunch of extra money to provide an HD experience, but offering a watered down version of the show, just so that you can have an upsell opportunity seems pretty weaksauce to me.



Sorry, this is the death-rattle of NewTeeVee.

Hulu wins.

Everyone else needs to figure out why the online User Experience of internet video (1.0) never evolved beyond abbreviated OldTeeVee. Perhaps there’s a future for independent content creators if there is deep collaboration with emerging technology partners as well – that collaboration didn’t occur during internet-tv 1.0 — maybe it will in the future?

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