After officially launching a $3.99-a-month SVOD service last week specifically targeted to comedy lovers, NBCUniversal digital chief Evan Shapiro said his company is looking to launch as many as six other niche-targeted streaming platforms.
Speaking to the New York Post-run Decider, a platform focused on streaming video, Shapiro likened NBCU's strategy to the expansion of basic cable networks over the last several decades.
"We feel like we're providing the curated, niche experience that cable provided in the 1980s with the huge advantage of having watched the last 30 years take place," Shapiro said. "We can go right to original programming knowing that it's the ultimate destination for any successful new channel. We knew going into it that the market demands original, exclusive programming, so we are getting ahead of that."
Shapiro, who joined NBCU as executive VP of digital enterprises from Participant Media 13 months ago, said he oversaw a "significant research project" upon his arrival that has informed the company's digital strategy.
"We did 11,000 interviews of people who watch video online," he said. "We have nine different platforms in development right now. Based on the research, we're making decisions about what to do next."
As for Seeso, it launched last week with not only a huge collection of content from current and archival NBCU TV series, but also a surprisingly robust collection of new original content created just for the platform.
When asked who Seeso's target audience is, Shapiro said, "Comedy nerds — millennials, Gen X'ers, and boomers. That's why we have remastered Monty Python and Kids in the Hall in HD for the first time, and we have all 40 years of Saturday Night Live. We also want to create an opportunity for people to find new voices, so we worked with the founders of the UCB to create The UCB Show, which features a lot of young sketch artists. Those shows will pull an audience that defies age. We think the comedy nerd psychographic is much bigger than most people think it is."
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