×

NBCU Sets ‘Seeso’ Comedy Subscription VOD Channel Launch

NBCUniversal announced plans to launch Seeso, a $3.99-per-month over-the-top subscription channel stocked with episodes and clips from the Peacock’s top shows and other sources including “Saturday Night Live,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “The Office” and “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”

In addition to licensed TV shows, Seeso includes a healthy slate of original series and aims to eventually stream live comedy specials. NBCU will launch the service in private beta in December, with public launch set for January.

“The big niche we’re focusing on is comedy,” Evan Shapiro, executive VP of NBCU Digital Enterprises, said at a press event in New York. “It’s the most popular genre out there by a long stretch, by a Secretariat stretch.”

Shapiro emphasized that ad-free Seeso service isn’t designed to go head-to-head with the three major subscription VOD services — Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. He said the big SVOD players act like the broadcast networks “around 1978” in providing “all things (to) all people.”

“This is a complement, not a replacement” for general-interest SVOD services, said Shapiro. Moreover, he claimed that Seeso would augment, rather than eat into, viewership of NBC shows on TV and distributed across other platforms, like Hulu.

Content in Seeso will include all 40 years of “SNL,” including day-after-air episodes; “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”; “Late Night with Seth Meyers”; “Parks and Recreation”; “30 Rock”; both the U.K. and U.S. versions of “The Office”; “The Kids in the Hall”; and “Saved by the Bell.”

Seeso expects to produce about 20 original series in the first year of operation, Shapiro said. Among the first: “The UCB Show” featuring Amy Poehler and other Upright Citizens Brigade troupe founders Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts and Matt Besser; an animated series from “Community” creator Dan Harmon, dubbed “HarmonQuest”; and a standup series from Wyatt Cenac (“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”).

Other Seeso originals on deck: reality show spoof “Bajillion Dollar Propertie$” from executive producers Scott Aukerman, Ben Garant, Tom Lennon and Kulap Vilaysack; workplace comedy “Thingstarter,” and dating game improv show “Dave & Ethan: Lovemakers,” both from Broadway Video’s Above Average Productions; standup series “Take My Wife” from creators and hosts Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher; travel show parody “Hidden America with Johan Ray”; comedy series “Live From The Barrel House” and “The Comedy Show Show” from Rooftop Comedy; “Sammy J & Randy in Ricketts Lane,” a musical comedy about two mismatched housemates, one a human and the other a puppet; and dark family comedy “Flowers,” starring Julian Barratt and Olivia Colman.

In addition, the service will include daily standup specials and 3-5 movies per month, with titles to include “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Seeso also will stream live comedy specials down the line, according to Shapiro.

The service will available at seeso.com, mobiles devices and all major OTT platforms in Q1 2016, Shapiro said. NBCU Digital Enterprises also is in talks with pay-TV providers about offering Seeso as an add-on digital offering to their customers, he added.

About 10%-15% of Seeso’s content will be available for free to anyone (who enters an email address), Shapiro said, as an enticement to sign up for the subscription service.

The Seeso launch event was held at NBCU Digital Enterprises’ office space in SoHo. Shapiro, former head of Pivot Television, said NBCU Digital Enterprises — which he described as a startup within Comcast/NBCU — has about 10 employees in NYC, with another 10 in L.A.

The group’s recent hires include Patricia Parra Hadden, ex-CMO of Shazam Entertainment and former Hulu marketing exec, as head of marketing, and Ben McLean, previously in charge of business affairs for Xbox Entertainment Studios and Pivot TV, who leads business affairs.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Spotify logo is presented on a

    Spotify Triples Free-Trial Period on Premium Service

    Spotify today extended the free-trial period for its Premium service from one month to three, tripling the amount of time listeners can take full advantage of the streaming giant’s offerings without paying for them. According to the announcement, the offer is “always-on/not limited time,” and will roll out across Spotify Premium plans globally: Individual and [...]

  • Moviepass

    MoviePass Confirms Security Issue With Customer Records

    MoviePass, the struggling movie ticket subscription service, has confirmed a security issue may have exposed customers’ records. In a statement, MoviePass said Wednesday that the security lapse was recently discovered and its system was immediately secured. Reports of the data breach first surfaced Tuesday through the Tech Crunch site, which alleged that tens of thousands [...]

  • Tycho weather app

    This Website Creates Spotify & Apple Music Playlists Based on Your Local Weather

    Electronica musician Tycho launched a clever promotional website for his new album “Weather” this week: Visitors of Tycho’s website can use a web app to generate a playlist based on their local weather. Playlists can be saved to both Spotify and Apple Music, and consist of 25 songs, both from Tycho’s catalog as well as [...]

  • AT&T TV

    AT&T TV: An Unskinny Streaming Bundle That Looks a Lot Like Traditional Pay TV

    AT&T this week launched AT&T TV, a new subscription streaming television service that uses an Android-based internet set-top, in 10 markets. But the way it’s priced and packaged looks very similar to cable and satellite TV services — in other words, AT&T TV isn’t targeted at the cord-cutter crowd. It’s basically designed as a way [...]

  • Sofia Wylie arrives at Variety's Power

    Disney Channel Enlists Duplass Brothers for YouTube Hip-Hop Dance Series Starring Sofia Wylie

    Disney Channel’s first original scripted series made exclusively for release on YouTube is “Shook,” a hip-hop dance short-form series starring Sofia Wylie, produced by Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass. “Shook” will debut Saturday, Sept. 28, on Disney Channel’s YouTube channel. The scripted single-camera show centers on 15-year-old Mia (Wylie), who yearns to dance professionally but [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Is Getting Rid of Messaging Feature

    YouTube is killing off a feature that allowed users to share videos and other messages with each other. YouTube Messages, which was first introduced in January of 2017, will be turned off by September 18, the company announced this week. “We’re constantly reevaluating our priorities and have decided to discontinue YouTube’s native direct messaging feature [...]

  • Yara Shahidi

    Audible Teams Up With Big Names as Audio-Only Storytelling Expands

    Hobnobbing with the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Kate McKinnon and Yara Shahidi isn’t typically the gloss applied to the cerebral audiobook set, but Audible is putting the humble audio story through its own movie-makeover montage, inking high-profile development deals with entertainment names like “The Walking Dead” comics creator Skybound Entertainment, Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and Lorne [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content