Legendary Digital Networks (LDN) announced this morning that it will be launching a standalone membership video platform, Alpha.
Debuting this fall, it will enable subscribers to interact with each other, as well as with the content and personalities through live video capabilities including chat and polling. It will feature mix of live programming and returning shows from LDN’s pop culture properties Nerdist and Geek & Sundry (co-founded by Felicia Day, pictured, right).
LDN president Adam Rymer (pictured, left) makes no secret of the fact that Alpha was initially inspired by Twitch, the Amazon-owned online video platform popular with gamers.
“We started thinking about [Alpha] a little over year ago when we launched our Twitch channel for Geek & Sundry,” Rymer told VideoInk. “Right now, the experience on Twitch is you’ve got a video player and a chat room and, for the most part, the two things only cross when the person on the screen decides to look at what’s going on in the chat room.”
As Geek & Sundry pushed the Twitch envelope with board game live streams and interviews, the LDN team began thinking about how it could do it better. Then they decided they should just do it themselves
With Alpha, “people from our chat can turn their video cameras on and become part of the show, they can be talking to the talent, they can be contestants on a game show, they can be talking to each other and be having a debate over what’s better, ‘Star Wars’ or ‘Star Trek,’ and that kind of thing, and then watch that live with all the other people in the chat room,” Rymer explained.
Alpha will have a closed beta launch in late summer and be made available to the public on iOS and 0TT devices in late Q3 or early Q4 2016. It will offer both online and offline perks to members, including VIP event access, prizes and product discounts. No pricing has been announced for the service.
“I’m seeing a lot of companies putting genre-style content behind paywalls and I’m not sure that offering alone is entirely exciting or compelling for the audience, especially when this type of programming is freely available all over the Internet,” said Chris Hardwick (pictured, center), CEO and founder of Nerdist, in a statement. “While scripted and interactive video will be just one component of Alpha, we are setting out to make this more of a holistic membership experience that will feel like a community clubhouse. We want it to be special and have real, justifiable value for members, e.g., live event access, merch, IRL meet-ups and bonus podcasts to name a few things. Alpha is about partnering people we love to create a safe space for fandom and the people who are passionate about it.”