Comcast's NBC to launch $3.99/month Seeso streaming comedy service because there's 'enough TV channels'

Comcast's NBCUniversal today took the wraps off its new subscription on demand streaming video service, Seeso, which will launch in January for $3.99 per month with a variety of comedy clips from existing NBC properties like Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show alongside shows exclusive to the service from the likes of Community's Dan Harmon and the Upright Citizens Brigade comedy troupe.

Specifically, Seeso will offer exclusive shows from Amy Poehler, Wyatt Cenac and others, as well as clips and shows from existing NBC comedies like 30 Rock and The Office, alongside daily clips from stand-up comedians and monthly broadcasts of comedy concerts. Seeso also scored the exclusive rights to two classic shows that aren't streaming anywhere right now -- Monty Python's Flying Circus and The Kids in the Hall -- and it will also offer a handful of comedy movies.

Notably, Seeso will sport more than 20 original series in 2016. "People stick around because of the original stuff, the stuff they can't get anywhere else," explained NBC EVP of digital enterprises, Evan Shapiro.

Shapiro said the service will complement both NBC's traditional linear TV offerings as well as its efforts with Hulu (which NBC owns along with Fox and Disney). "I think there are enough television channels. I think we have enough television channels," Shapiro said at a media event announcing the service, according to CNN Money. He said Seeso's goal is "not to just protect our ecosystem, but to grow it."

The WSJ pointed out that Seeso will offer roughly 10 to 15 percent of its content for free to anyone who visits the service's site or apps, and that the rest of Seeso's content will only be available to paying subscribers. Importantly, the WSJ said that NBC will not remove any of its content on Google's YouTube following the launch of Seeso; that's noteworthy considering NBC executives have complained that as much as 70 percent of the viewership for NBC's Tonight Show occurs via viewed online clips and is not being counted and monetized. 

Seeso enters an extremely crowded market for online video services. Netflix, Amazon and Hulu continue to stand as the market's biggest players, but a growing crop of challengers -- from mass market offerings like Sling TV and CBS All Access to targeted services like CuriosityStream that offers nonfiction and factual content -- are pushing into the space. Since prices for such services range from a few dollars per month up to $14.99 for HBO's Now, users must pick and choose their favorites if they plan to cut the cord.

Seeso also stands as Comcast's latest push into the Web video world, following the launch of the cable company's Watchable service.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this CNN Money article
- see this Seeso site

Related articles:
Comcast partners with programmers to bring short-form Web clips to X1
Comcast launches beta version of ad-supported Watchable video service
Comcast handles its 'Tonight Show' viewing problem with new NBCU comedy SVOD service

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