After culminating a month-long beta, NBCUniversal has officially launched its new SVOD comedy platform, Seeso.
Mixing original comedy programming with current and archival content from NBCU, the $3.99-a-month service has assembled 2,000 hours of video. It's an important launch -- Comcast and its NBCU division hope it can help stem a viewership problem, in which up to 70 percent of NBC's late-night comedy audience disperses across platforms like YouTube and goes unaccounted for.
Besides full-length epodes of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, as well as archival content such as Monty Python classics, the site is launching with exclusive original series, such as the Amy Pohler-produced UCB Show and sketch series The Cyanide & Happiness Show.
Among a flurry of direct-to-consumer video platforms being launched by media companies, Seeso stands out because of its original content, according to Diffusion Group senior analyst Alan Wolk.
"Because rather than just repurpose things you can get with your standard pay-TV subscription, they've created a lot of original programming, which gives people who already have NBC as part of a pay TV subscription a reason to subscribe as well, really opens up their potential user base," Wolk told FierceCable.
"We put together what we think is the best collection of comedy in one place," said Evan Shapiro, executive VP, NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises, in a statement last month.
Shapiro added that Seeso streams from an owned-and-operated online video platform that the company built from scratch.
Shapiro, a veteran of IFC and the Sundance Channel, told The Seattle Times that the service isn't targeting a specific age demographic, but rather a "psychographic" of comedy fans.
"If people aren't watching and talking about our content, that means we have failed," he said.
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