Seeso Comedy Fans React With Dismay, Sarcasm After NBCU Announces Service’s Shutdown

Seeso - Cyanide and Happiness Show
Courtesy of Explosm

Subscribers of NBCUniversal’s Seeso — even if they were few in number — aren’t happy that the Peacock is saying “seeya later” to the comedy streaming service it launched just a year and a half ago.

On Wednesday, Seeso announced it was shutting down by the end of the year. The service, which cost $3.99 per month, has featured some 2,000 hours of comedy content, all past seasons and current-season episodes of “Saturday Night Live.”

Reactions to the news of Seeso’s shutdown ran the gamut from sad to irate, and from grateful to snarky.

“Hey, thanks for getting Mbmbam and HarmonQuest out there. No regrets,” Alex Paciga wrote in a post on Seeso’s Facebook page. Those are references to Seeso originals “My Brother, My Brother and Me,” based on the podcast by the three McElroy brothers from West Virginia, and “HarmonQuest,” a live-action/animated hybrid series from “Community” creator Dan Harmon with a cast who act out fantasy role-playing adventures.

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Another user, Nate Randolph, posted on Facebook: “NOOOO I’m gonna miss you guys. Seriously y’all did something new and it was fantastic. Thanks for the good times.”

Others weren’t as charitable. “To think that we’ll never see a world where SeeSo gets a useable [sic] interface that allows me to find what I want quickly and easily,” mused Tom Larney. And one Twitter user played “I told you so,” commenting: “Who’d have thought an attempt to do another Netflix but with a way dumber name wouldn’t work out?( Apart from pretty much everyone)”.

Seeso’s originals lineup, in addition to “My Brother, My Brother and Me” and “HarmonQuest,” included “Bajillion Dollar Propertie$,” “The Cyanide & Happiness Show,” “Big Jay Oakerson’s What’s Your F@%King Deal?!” and “Take My Wife” about a young, married lesbian couple who host an underground stand-up comedy showcase. Additional TV show content on the service included episodes of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” “Monty Python’s Flying Circue,” “Parks and Recreation,” “30 Rock,” and both the U.K. and U.S. versions of “The Office.”

Four original Seeso series — “HarmonQuest,” “My Brother, My Brother and Me,” “Hidden America with Jonah Ray” and “The Cyanide and Happiness Show” — are now available on VRV, the streaming service operated by Ellation (a division of AT&T/Chernin Group’s Otter Media).

According to VRV, the second season of “HarmonQuest” will premiere exclusively on VRV Select on Sept. 15. VRV Select is a curated collection of content available as part of VRV’s Combo Pack, priced at $9.99 per month.

As for “SNL,” which had been a big part of Seeso’s appeal, the service had a nonexclusive license to the show’s episodes — but full episodes of seasons 6 through 29 are unavailable on any other streaming service. Currently, NBC.com offers full episodes of season 42 for free and Hulu subscribers have access to “SNL” season 1-5 and 30-42. (An NBC rep was unable to provide details on what the plans are for the seasons that were available only through Seeso.)

NBCU has never released subscriber numbers for Seeso. But the subscription VOD service has amassed relatively small social-media followings, with 53,000 Facebook fans and 16,000 on Twitter.

NBCU Digital Enterprises exec Evan Shapiro, who had overseen Seeso, exited earlier this year. When he unveiled Seeso in October 2015, Shapiro had expressed confidence that the subscription VOD upstart could carve out a successful comedy niche against general-entertainment players Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Comedy is “the most popular genre out there by a long stretch,” he told reporters, “by a Secretariat stretch.”

Pictured above: “The Cyanide and Happiness Show” from Explosm

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  1. “an attempt at doing another Netflix”, that sounds like a very informed and well thought opinion, right there…

  2. Jacques Strappe says:

    Cable or streaming services devoted to niche-y comedies only doesn’t even sound like a sound business strategy.. These network executives just can’t be objective about their own content in the broader mass market where competition is insanely brutal and overwhelming in scope for consumers. As more of these specialized streaming services pop up, it makes the broader and much larger content offerings of Netflix, Amazon and Hulu more appealing, less confusing and probably more economical in the long run for most consumers.

  3. caitfc says:

    Better to be a ‘channel’ on an existing platform, such as Hulu or YouTube, than a stand-alone. Or sell via micropayment per view/content.

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