Tag Archives: Streaming TV

Seeso’s Niche Streaming Service Competes with the Big Boys

In the online streaming market, giants such as Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube dominate with the amount of variety of content they carry.  On Netflix you can watch horror movies to your heart’s content, Hulu allows you to keep up with your favorite programs, and YouTube allows users to share and create their own content for all to enjoy.  But these services are broad, and lack any sort of niche appeal.  Enter Seeso, a new streaming service which focuses exclusively on comedy.

seesoSeeso is a service which is part of the recently formed NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises, which is headed by Evan Shapiro.  Seeso was officially launched on January 6th of 2016, after an open beta that started in December of 2015.  The service has a monthly subscription fee of $3.99/month to gain access to the ad-free content.

Seeso boasts an impressive roster of programs that include a number of NBC shows and original content.  Some of the NBC and NBC affiliated programs that Seeso currently carries include Saturday Night Live, Monty Python, Parks and Recreation, The Kids in the Hall and others.  But Seeso’s main appeal is its original content such as Take My Wife by Rhea Butcher and Cameron Esposito, Harmon Quest from Dan Harmon, and My Brother My Brother and Me which is based off of the podcast of the same name from the McElroy brothers.

When asked about original content Shapiro said this to Decider.com, “In the first month, our original content was less than 3 percent of our overall content, yet it still drove 40 percent of our subscriptions.  Seven months later, original content is around 8 percent of our overall content and drives more than 80 percent of our new subscriptions.”

Much of Seeso’s content and drive can also be found in its name.  A spokeswoman for NBC said this to the Wall Street Journal about the name of the new service, “The name plays off the curated experience and the ‘right brain comedy’ programming filter.  It’s a reference to the mapping the comedy genome philiosphy (the “You came to SEE The Office, SO we’ll show you other workplace comedies you’ll love.)”

Seeso is online at Facebook, Twitter, and provides content at YouTube.  Across all three social media platforms Seeso has maintained a consistent brand of brightly colored blues, yellows, and greys.  But it’s on YouTube that you see much of Seeso’s branding and promotional material at play.

Almost all of the videos are fast, bright, and most importantly funny.

Some even claiming that Seeso is a actually a cult in a series of short mockumentary style videos.  This series of videos are by far the longest and strangest part of Seeso’s marketing campaign.

While this promotional material may be incredibly funny, is it really effective?  Did they get more people to subscribe to Seeso, or at least try out the free trial?  That’s hard to say, especially since as of writing this, Seeso hasn’t released any subscription numbers or reported any earnings.  But it certainly is entertaining enough to warrant some thought into the service.

Chase Danielson

Justin *Kan* Make Your Startup a Success

Justin Kan knows his startups. At age 23 he started a website for lifecasting. In 2011 he launched the world most popular e-sports streaming site. In 2012 he created a westcoast website he would flip immediately. He’s been around the block once or twice, creating success after success. So, how does he do it?

justin KanJustin graduated from Yale with a love for technology. At the same time, he also loves going to parties and having fun. These two interests ignited an idea, a “lifecast.” With the $50,000 he received from the Y Combinator, a startup funder, he created Justin.tv, a website where he streamed what he did, as he did it, in real time. Justin turned himself into an online personality and would do the same for others. By 2008, Justin.tv would have over one million visitors and over 60 channels of other people lifecasting themselves.

In 2011 Justin Kan began work on a video game streaming website. The market for video game streaming and social websites had been tried and failed. None were able to gain any real traction and work in the long term. This would not be the case for Twitch.tv. Twitch has grown and has since become the place for amatuer and professional gamers alike to stream their content. Esports has found their home in Twitch, with League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter Strike airing on the website regularly. In 2014, this startup was sold for $960 million to Amazon and continues to grow.

These two massive products have created a few guidelines Justin says to follow. First and foremost: pay attention to the user experience. The community is what matters and will be what grows the startup. Making money is important, and is needed for any successful startup, but getting a strong fan base should take priority at all times.

Next comes the money. Passion projects are great, but you need to make money at some point. This means that creators need to build in order to flip. Make the project, foster a community, and find out how to make money without sacrificing those that support it. Startup founders need to keep iterating and perfecting on the project to improve the experience and ways to profit.

There is also set of rules to follow when selling. Don’t sell when it makes sense, after things have died down. If the project is blossoming, if it’s growing and people love it–that is the best time to sell. If the project starts to decline, and there no room for growth, then the opportunity to sell has passed you by, especially if you want the most bang for your buck. The time to sell the startup is when the founder can still make a ton of money. According to Justin, sell as the project is hitting it big.

After selling Twitch, Justin has since stepped back a bit. He has turned his focus away from startups and into creating art. Since the big sell, he has delivered talks on creating startups and now has a place on the board that made the first investment, the Y Combinator. Now he is focusing on projects that aren’t intended to make money, but there’s still time for him to change his mind.

Evan Stevenson