NBCUniversal announces a new streaming comedy channel, Seeso

In an effort to differentiate itself from the competitive streaming service market, NBCUniversal announced Thursday the launch of its comedy-focused streaming channel.

Seeso, set to debut in January, will offer 52 weeks of exclusive content to viewers for $3.99 per month. The ad-free service will be available on seeso.com, streaming platforms, connected devices and other distribution partners.

“Big streaming services have created a paradox of choice -- they’re great if you know exactly what to watch, but if you aren’t in the middle of a binge, the search can be near endless,” Evan Shapiro, executive vice president of NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises, said in a statement. “By focusing on a specific, yet large niche, and providing a curated experience, we can help viewers find good stuff they might not or cannot find."

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Shapiro, who has been with the digital division for 10 months, told the Times that though "there's absolutely a crowded marketplace" no one is "taking the approach we are taking."

"We did a lot of research...by the end of November we’ll have talked to 11,000 people who stream video into their homes," Shapiro said. "What we've seen is that...comedy is the number one genre."

Specifically, a type of comedy that Shapiro described as having both "intelligence and heart."

In order to "target comedy super fans," Seeso will have new content every day and popular curated content, including NBC "Late Night" shows, "Monty Python’s Flying Circus," "The Kids in the Hall," and the U.S. and U.K. versions of "The Office."

There will also be 20 new original series in the first year from Dan Harmon, the Upright Citizens Brigade, Cameron Esposito, Wyatt Cenac and others. 

"We really tried to create a service around consumer behavior," Shapiro said. "The real opportunity here I think is to differentiate ourselves through the killer technology of the human mind...I think that’s one of the main components we bring to the table."

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UPDATE

2:00 p.m.: This post has been updated with additional quotes from Shapiro following an interview with the Times.

It was originally published at 9:52 a.m.