New media company Icebox is hoping that people are ready to pay for entertainment on the Web (other than porn, that is). Starting this week, Icebox is making its entire library of animation available on a pay-per-view basis through Icebox On Demand (www.icebox.com). Since relaunching the site in April 2001, Icebox has been focusing its core business on developing new content for traditional and new media, as well as the licensing of its existing library. However, according to co-founder and managing director Tal Vigderson, there has been strong demand from Icebox fans for access to the original library online. ``When we originally contemplated the new Icebox business plan, the Website wasn't a big part of it. We posted a Web page to let our fans know we were still in business. The site was so overwhelmed with traffic that it continually crashed, so we decided to upgrade our servers and launch Icebox On Demand.'' The service will offer an introductory price of twenty-five cents for each Webisode (regular price $.40), which customers can watch an unlimited number of times during a twenty-four hour period. Visitors to Icebox on Demand get the first Webisode of a series for free. If they enjoy the program, they can purchase the rest of the series, as well as additional Webisodes by logging in to the secure AllCharge server. Initially payments are made via credit cards, but eventually Icebox plans to expand payment options for customers, enabling them to use prepaid and stored value cards, or adding Webisode charges to their existing ISP or telecom bills. Does this new venture mean that Icebox is planning on creating new content for their site? Only if enough people buy into the pay-per-view scheme. In an interview with Digital Coast Daily, Vigderson said "If we get approximately 100,000 viewings of a show, that would generate enough revenue to produce a new episode. We would love it if this provides enough revenue to run the company so we are freed up for other deals and even allows us to expand our finite library.
Read about the glory days of animation on the Internet, and what happened as the dust of the Dot Bomb settled, in Michael Hurwicz article "Debris From Dot Com Crash Hits Animators."