Bob Barker's fame has extended from game show legend to the Hollywood big screen and now to the interactive gaming.
The host of The Price is Right, one of America's most famous game shows, will be the cornerstone of a new online gaming site devoted to the show.
FremantleMedia, which owns the rights to the show, and WagerWorks, an I-gaming software supplier, plan to launch the completed site this month.
The two groups hope to leverage the global power of the popular game show in which contestants are asked to guess the retail price of items ranging from bars of soap to furniture and cruises.
While the TV show airs in 36 countries, the gaming site, Priceisrightgames.com, will initially target U.K. consumers. The site will feature popular games that are a part of the TV show and will have online slots, courtesy of Play Your Cards Right, another Fremantle property.
Fremantle said in a press release that the site would have a heavy emphasis on casino-style games. Players will have the chance to win up to £500,000 by playing with stakes ranging from as little as 5p on various slot, roulette, scratch card and bingo games.
The new site won't be the first injection of the Price Is Right brand into the interactive gaming space. Lycos' Gamesville offers visitors a Price Is Right free-play online game, and SkyBet Vegas' Web site offers an online slot machine themed around the show.
"The Price is Right is an incredibly powerful brand," explained Claire Tavernier, senior vice president of Fremantle Interactive, "but we want to
change its image from a fun-but-old TV brand into a new hi-tech brand."
The Fremantle/WagerWorks venture, however, marks the first time the brand has been made available online as a standalone site.
Travernier also said the two companies plan to expand the site beyond the U.K. market.
"We believe it has huge potential both in the U.K. and abroad, in territories where online gambling is also legal," she said.
The site will extend beyond the PC as well. Mobliss has designed a suite of mobile games for U.S. consumers; it's expected to go live by the second quarter of this year.
For WagerWorks, the venture marks the start of a new phase in which the company is concentrating on delivering well branded products. The group is already developing a Wheel of Fortune interactive gaming site that's scheduled to launch this year.
"We are committed to setting the standard for online gaming in terms of quality and brand recognition," WagerWorks President and CEO Andrew Pascal explained, "so we will continue to introduce properties that have an established audience."
He added, "With more than 50 pricing games in The Price Is Right show repertoire, the product has endless opportunities for successful brand extensions. The recent introduction is only the first of many games and unique formats to come."
If the beta trial for The Price Is Right is any indication of things to come, WagerWorks' strategy could prove successful. The company reports that the new game outperformed roulette, blackjack and all other games on the site during the trial period.
Pascal pointed out that brands like Wheel of Fortune and The Price is Right have a much broader reach than poker, slot machines and the likes.
"The exceptional performance of The Price Is Right comes as no surprise," Pascal said. "The Price Is Right has demonstrated its brand strength with its many adaptations into new mediums."
The Price Is Right has been broadcast globally since it first aired in 1956 and has proved its staying power. The show was the No. 1 program in its time slot in seven countries in 2003.
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