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Seeso, NBCUniversal's Subscription Service for Comedy Nerds, Is Here

Free for now. $4 a month later. Built for comedy nerds.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Here’s a new ad for Seeso, the comedy Web subscription service that NBCUniversal* is launching, which kicks off a free beta trial today.

Unless you work for Seeso or Battery, the agency that made the ad, you probably won’t be able to identify every comedy property the spot references. But if you’re a comedy nerd, you might pick up on most of them. Are you a comedy nerd?

If you’re not a comedy nerd, here are the different allusions to shows and movies in the spot, in order of appearance:

    • “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”
    • “Parks and Recreation”
    • “Kids In The Hall”
    • “Gentlemen Lobsters” (a new Seeso show based on a GQ animated series**)
    • Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life”
    • “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”
    • “Saturday Night Live”
    • The Upright Citizens Brigade
    • “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”
    • “Saturday Night Live”
    • “Saturday Night Live”
    • “Saturday Night Live”
    • “Parks and Recreation”

So. Not the most esoteric stuff in the world — but not stuff that everyone is going to respond to. Seeso, which will eventually costs $4 a month, congratulates you if you respond to it: “You Get It” is the company’s winking tagline.

The real questions: How many people get it, and how many of them want to pay up?

There’s definitely an audience that will pay for niche content delivered over the Web. For instance: Crunchyroll, Otter Media’s anime service, says it has 750,000 people paying at least $7 a month.

And there are presumably some people who are willing to pay for Seeso’s mix of reruns and some new originals. I’m probably going to be one of them.

But I don’t know if there are millions of us, and I think that’s what NBCUniversal is hoping to attract here, as part of a plan to create a new “skinny bundle” of content that doesn’t compete with the stuff they are already selling via traditional pay TV providers like Comcast.

Still, if you’re a BigCo that’s going to experiment with Web video, I’d rather see something like this — which brings you stuff you can’t find everywhere else — than the forays we’re seeing from Verizon’s Go90 and Comcast’s Watchable. Those guys bring you stuff you can see everywhere else, and are hoping you’ll watch because it’s on your phone, or set-top box, or whatever.

No thanks. Now I want to go see the new UCB show.

* NBCUniversal has invested in Vox Media, which owns this site.

** Nope. I had no idea, either.

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