Get ready to add another small monthly fee to your media subscription pile: NBC's stand-alone comedy streaming service SeeSo is opening for business on January 7th. The network's bid for the hearts of comedy nerds everywhere costs $3.99 per month, and it'll be available on SeeSo's website and for iOS and Android devices at launch. (NBC says it's planning to add other platforms "in the coming months.")
SeeSo includes access to NBC's extensive comedy library (think 30 Rock and The Office) and next-day viewing of late-night shows from Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers, and the service is also launching with five original series; The UCB Show — a sketch comedy revue hosted and produced by Upright Citizens Brigade co-founders Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Matt Walsh, and Ian Roberts — is the most prominent of the five. The service is currently offering a free month-long trial in advance of its launch, and it'll offer a similar free trial even after its grand opening on the 7th. (The first five episodes of SeeSo's original series are available as part of the trial, and new episodes will be added weekly after launch.)
NBC is making an interesting bet with SeeSo, one that runs counter to the "content smorgasbord" strategy currently being pursued by competitors like Netflix and Hulu. Have you ever caught yourself staring slack-jawed and paralyzed at a wall of programming, waiting for something special to catch your eye? SeeSo is trying to bridge the gap between that experience — which is admittedly unpleasant — and traditional, locked-in cable channels. It also gives NBC a chance to experiment with an alternative model while also giving some of its old content a new, company-owned home. If SeeSo proves viable, NBC has less reason to cough up its shows to streaming services that have become major competitors in recent years.