These days, new SVOD platforms and streaming destinations are a dime a dozen. If the video industry has learned anything from Hollywood or the Netlix’s “House of Cards” approach, it’s that marketing is key to any successful content play. So when NBCUniversal announced in October that it would launch a new comedy channel called Seeso, optimized for digital and mobile streaming, it knew it had to do something to make it stand out.
So the NBCU Digital Enterprises’ marketing team led by Patricia Hadden devised a plan that went beyond the typical demographic targeting strategy to employ a broader “big niche” guerrilla attack that connected with comedy fans across generations. Kicking off with a series of mockumentary-style vignettes, the campaign was designed to make viewers feel they were joining a secret comedy society.
After reviewing the content strategy, presented by NBC Universal’s EVP of Digital Enterprises Evan Shapiro in October of 2015, VideoInk bet that Seeso had the winning formula to successfully launch the mobile-first comedy channel.
Today, as Seeso emerges from a private beta for its official public launch, the campaign is being deemed a success, driving three times more traction among consumers than anticipated.
“We realize that content sells content,” said Hadden of the approach.
The marketing team was looking beyond whether or not the overall series of vignettes drove traffic, monitoring each episode’s performance to evaluate what resonated with audiences, converted traffic to Seeso, and could ultimately be used to inform future content development.
“This was a ‘test and learn’ period,” Hadden said. “We figured once we announce and all the way through launch, we really want to spend about 1% of our budget and understand what is the message that is resonating and what are the platforms that are performing well. Then we have all of that data come launch day, and we can then unleash our marketing dollars against what we know is working well.”
To do this, Seeso took a multiplatform marketing approach putting attention on their Facebook page as well as on YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, the latter of which is the latest platform they are testing, Hadden noted. It’s not surprising, given Facebook’s recent push into video, that Seeso content has performed quite well on the social networking platform, which has served as a destination for not only Seeso’s promotional micro-series, but also traditional trailers and teasers for the full programming slate offered on the channel at launch.
“We also really want to introduce the world to our new original talent, to our shows and our brand,” she added. And so the team rolled out a slate of shorts that highlighted talent like Amy Poehler and Dan Harmon, among other UCB comedians. “Our social strategy revolves around three pillars: brand, show and talent, and we are really in the process of creating content around those pillars and franchises.”
Over the last few weeks, shows supporting the pillars such as “399 Reasons You’ll Love Seeso”and “Uncomfortable Interviews,” an aptly-named series of awkward chats with Seeso talent, have been distributed across social platforms.
The team also leveraged advertising inventory from NBCUniveral and Comcast-owned channels to help drive awareness with linear television audiences. When asked about demographics, Hadden leaned into Seeso’s ethos that the channel is really about the big niche vertical of comedy, which can appeal to nearly every generation. Marketing, then, on linear was just as important as on digital platforms.
“One of the really great things about being apart of the NBCU and Comcast family is that they have great scale, and we have access to these great brands and their portfolios that have been able to support us,” Hadden said.
While she noted that everyone is “very pleased” with the early response to Seeso, Hadden declined to comment on exact numbers of users in the early beta and on the budgets being applied to online vs offline marketing initiatives. And as the company approaches early 2016, post-launch, Hadden says they are just getting started on putting that budget to work. By the end of the year, Seeso will have released upwards of 20 original series, many of which will have their own mini-marketing pushes. So, in every sense of the word, today, Seeso is just getting started.