NBC's Digital Move

As of tomorrow, NBC’s streaming subscription service SeeSo goes live following a month-long free limited beta. Beyond being another service, NBC’s new VOD is custom designed to target comedy fanatics.

Spearheaded by Evan Shaprio as of 2014, SeeSo is the latest bid from networks hoping to either compete with, or chip away at, brand leaders Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu. Although in interviews Shapiro insistently refers to SeeSo as a channel, not a service.

Shapiro is certain that focusing on comedy lovers as a psychographic will allow NBC to give consumers more choice, and cut access time spent searching through less curated comedy content on big services like Netflix.

The official January 7th launch will move SeeSo from a web-only service to iOS and Android. NBC has promised to develop new platforms and features in the months to come, but will need device-to-tv streaming to really compete.

Their subscription fee however, is already competitive. A $4 monthly subscription fee gets you access to NBC big-hitter series like 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation or SNL, original new SeeSo series, and a selection of other series from outside the network. Late night programming like The Tonight Show or Late Night will be available the night following their first broadcast.

The original and outside content are especially exciting. Outside series will include Monty Python, somehow, amazingly, in its entirety for the first time on any streaming service. Canadian icons and comedy-cult necessity Kids in the Hall are also a huge get (nice to see at least one CBC production on the table). They’ve also acquired the rights to Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace and Mighty Boosh, clearly working on building up the British comedy shelf other streamers have been slow to develop.

Exclusive original content is said to be 22 original series, and will include new work from brilliant eccentric Dan Harmon and from the UCB, who’ve already released a series of teaser trailers. The target is 200 hours of original programming in the first year alone.

Worrisome original content includes an animated series based on webcomic Cyanide and Happiness. Previous attempts at animating the otherwise excellent comic have been less than successful.

The service (sorry, channel) will be ad-free, and NBC will also introduce the option for a free (no credit card required) unlimited subscription. Granted, you’ll only get access to 10-15% of their content, but given the enormous content pool NBC has to draw from, this should be enough to entice new viewers.

Named for the theory of the VOD suggestion algorithms (you see X, so you may enjoy Y), SeeSo is an awkward name that’ll take some getting used to. But who cares about a name when the content is solid?