Legendary Entertainment is getting into the video-on-demand industry, with a live interactive twist.
Legendary's digital division, Legendary Digital Networks, announced a new video platform called Alpha on Friday. More than just livestreaming six to eight hours of programming a day, the platform allows fans to "talk" with the shows talent and creators in real-time to influence programming. Viewers can take polls or use chat functions, and in case appear live on-screen during the show. Live episodes will be recorded so subscribers can watch them at a later time as well.
"What you're seeing is a product thinking about where the puck is going with video and community," Legendary Digital Networks CEO Adam Rymer told CNBC.
The paid streaming service is a joint venture between Chris Hardwick's Nerdist and Felicia Day, Kim Evey and Sheri Bryant's Geek & Sundry, which are two of Legendary Digital Network's top channels.
Sources close to the situation say pricing will be competitive with similar services, around $5 to $7 a month. Alpha will open for beta testing later this summer, and is expected to fully launch in early Q4 this year.
Alpha's capabilities echo popular services like Facebook Live and Twitch, which allow viewers to interact with the creators of live content. Unlike those two services that allow anyone to upload content, at launch all shows will be from creators within the Legendary Digital Network. Rymer said the company may be open to including outside content in the future.
"I don't think that anyone has started to define what this new [digital video] medium is," Rymer said. "I think it's going to come from places like [Alpha] where you have live content."
Rymer said while the service has similarities to capabilities on some social networks, Legendary Digital Network's has no plans to leave those services. For example, he sees potential for shows to stream simultaneously on its paid service and Facebook Live. While the Facebook Live audience can watch the content for free, Alpha subscribers would be the only ones with the ability to collaborate with the show.
"It's not competitive, it's complementary," Rymer said.
Though Legendary started out as an American motion picture company, it has branched out into becoming a digital network, comic book publisher and a television producer. Legendary was acquired by Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group this year.
Prior to the Wanda Group, Legendary already had strong film production capabilities in China, through its company Legendary East Ltd. Movies produced by the division, which was created in 2011, are not subject to strict rules that only allow 34 non-Chinese movies into the country annually.