Seeso laughs no more. The mostly under-the-radar NBCUniversal subscription video-streaming service for comedy content is closing by year's end.
The company gave no reason for the decision. The 18-month-old service had not disclosed any key business metrics -- subscribers or revenue.
NBCUniversal started Seeso in January 2016 and gave it a modest price tag -- just $3.99 a month. Traditional TV consumers -- with extra resources to spend on entertainment -- continue to add to their existing pay TV packages from cable, satellite and telco operators. Most Netflix customers come in this way.
NBCU’s all-comedy channel had many library TV shows, including “Saturday Night Live" as well as new material: “HarmonQuest,” “My Brother, My Brother and Me," “Hidden America with Jonah Ray” and “The Cyanide and Happiness Show," which will be transferred to another streaming service, VRV.
What was the marketing effort here? Was there much promotional push from the parent company?
Some believe this was part of the problem -- that Seeso needed more original content, especially with a price tag. Perhaps it should have elected to be ad-supported and dropped the monthly fee.
Seeso didn’t just gear up for comedy-only content, but specifically targeted rabid comedy fans.
While we are being moved to a more “a la carte” world of TV networks and channels, success still comes with “scale” -- meaning lots of potential TV consumers. So where was Seeso's real potential?
Many analysts believe the new TV distribution model will be consumers buying a hodgepodge collection of different apps -- Netflix, Hulu, Disney, ESPN and yes, maybe some smaller apps -- including comedy, food and home decor.
The price for all this may be more than your traditional pay TV package. See who is laughing then.