18 STREAMING MEDIA January/February 2017
Launching Alpha: A Q&A on Creating and Launching an OTT Service
Will they be involved with any of the Alpha
Adam Rymer: We will find ways to get them involved in different things. The cast of Critical
Role, which is one of the biggest shows that we
have on Twitch for Geek & Sundry, will be involved in a show that we’re doing, called Talks
Machina. Chris Hardwick and Felicia Day, we’re
talking to them about ways to participate in
the programming that we have inside of Alpha.
They still have to manage the existing businesses of Nerdist and Geek & Sundry. We’re not taking things away from that audience. There’s still
quite a bit of work for them to do on that side.
Streaming Media: Yeah, those two seem to be
Adam Rymer: Yeah, because of their schedules,
it’ll be a challenge to find ways to get them on
screen as much as I’d love them to. It’s also an
opportunity for us to find new hosts and talent
and people who are also high profiled in the
space that we can work with. One of the shows
that we’re working on is a live streaming, watch-along movie show. We’ll be licensing rights
to some films from third parties. People like
Warner Bros. and MGM and the likes.
We think that there’s an opportunity to be
able to watch movies together as a group, which
provides a completely different experience.
It’s kind of a dinner-and-a-movie or not quite
a Mystery Science Theater idea, but something
that gives you a reason to watch some of these
longer-tail films with talent. We’ll be able to, on
a live basis, dial in actors or producers or directors of these movies and have them actually chat with the audience and create a unique
experience that you wouldn’t be able to get if
you were watching that movie on Netflix.
Streaming Media: These movies, will they be good
movies or so-bad-they’re-good movies?
Adam Rymer: I think there’ll be a combination of
both, but honestly our focus is on good movies, or
at least movies that were relevant to us growing
up that maybe the next generation hasn’t really
had a chance to see. Things like Gremlins, for
example, which you probably hear a lot about.
When you watch Stranger Things, there are all
these allusions to things of the past which, who
knows how many of the younger generation has
had a chance to really see them, or see them
in a way that they can understand why certain
things are interesting.
Streaming Media: Is it a problem that you don’t
have a lot of bankable, established hits to sell
the new network? Even $5 a month is an expense. How do you get people to take a chance?
Adam Rymer: We’ll be offering 30 days free
for people who are current subscribers to our
Twitch channel. It’s publicly out there, since we
published it on our Twitch channel. We have
about 30,000 subscribers to our Twitch channel.
They’ll be getting a 6-month free trial, so they’ll
have a chance to really try it out and be part
of a community and share that with friends.
We’ll do some other marketing to get people
You’ll see that we’ll have some high-level
talent that ends up being part of a bunch of
these shows, that comes on for some of the
watch-alongs and things like that, which will
help us get the word out. The goal is, if you’re
really trying to build community experiences
around things, it cannot really be a giant launch
where we spend a ton of money on marketing,
like a Hulu sort of a thing. It has to be a little bit
more grass-roots than that. We’re not trying
to become Netflix. Our goal is to really provide a meaningful experience to a core group
of our audience.
Streaming Media: When Seeso launched, it had
established properties like the full run of Monty
Python and some known comedy stars. Alpha
isn’t trying either of those strategies.
Adam Rymer: The Netflix and Hulus and Amazons of the world are 800-pound gorillas. They