Commentary

Seeso Plays Online Video For a Laugh. You Buying?

NBCUniversal today officially debuted Seeso, its digital comedy site that will be a collection of day-after reruns of NBC’s late night shows, older reruns, stand up comics, bits from Upright Citizens Brigade, clips and other stuff including originals. 

It will cost $3.99 a month, once you get past the free intro month, a version of which beta users have been freeloading on for a while.

The clip part makes Seeso a good bit for mobile viewing, though from what I see, they don’t seem to be prominently displayed, much promoted, or plentiful. On the other end,  there’s an ample collection of sitcoms and the original fare may make it enticing for cord-cutters. Seeso claims to have 2,000 hours of programming, and more being baked every day.

I assume some of fiscally smart consumers are adding up all the online services they’re now paying to get; someday, they'll stop. That may be a good reason for NBCU to start Seeso now, before the relatively small line of pay sites begins to resemble the Lincoln Tunnel at rush hour. 

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Most pointedly, Seeso seems to be going after a chunk of Hulu’s audience, which is slightly like cutting off part of your arm, but not noticing. (NBCUniversal’’s parent, Comcast, is a part owner of Hulu but, to placate regulators, does nothing but cash its checks every month.)

I hate to say it but Amy Poehler and Tina Fey may be getting a tad overexposed these days. It's sort of beside the point but they keep reminding everybody how lame most of NBC’s sitcoms have been lately, except for Tina’s  “30 Rock” and Amy’s “Parks and Recreation.”

Online, it’s as if they’ve never left.  

I’m not so sure comedy isn’t being milked dry altogether, actually. Clips from a bundle of services, and Funny or Die and the Onion show up in profusion on Facebook and Twitter. So do clips from Seeso, but as that continues, it will be driving visitors to a site that costs them to watch. I’m wonder what happens then.  

So viewed that way Seeso sounds mostly so-so. But as a giant compendium of current comedy that is quite easy to maneuver around,  Seeso would seem to be a good fallback when everything else seems stale, or just more serious than you are at the moment.

Still, seeing a row of episodes of “30 Rock” to choose from, starting with S1E1, do I want to dive in there? And haven’t I seen it a few times by now?

The idea of separating a genre is good, but Seeso will be far better when I curate a list of favorites and hope Seeso can read my hilarious, little mind. Seeso’s worth watching, just to see how it evolves.

pj@mediapost.com

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