SeeSaw Dips Into History

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Little over a year after launch, UK online TV venture SeeSaw has hoisted the closing down sign after failing to secure sufficient content, advertisers, or traffic.

Its owner, the TV and radio infrastructure provider Arqiva, had been looking for a buyer for the site since last October but none has been forthcoming.

In a statement Arqiva explained:

As part of an ongoing strategic business review, we have decided to sell or close the Seesaw online TV service. Seesaw is an excellent service and has provided invaluable insight into the online TV market in the UK.  But it no longer fits with the strategic direction in which we are taking Arqiva and requires considerable investment to succeed in an increasingly competitive market.  We have tried to find an investment partner, however this has not proved possible.  We have therefore put Seesaw staff on a 30-day consultation as we need to reach a conclusion by the end of our financial year on June 30.

On launch in February 2010, Seesaw offered 3,000 hours of free programmes from broadcasters C4, Five, and the BBC Worldwide with independent production libraries from producers including Shed and TalkbackThames.

It also began offering paid-for content, with 1,000 hours of shows after striking deals with U.S. broadcasters MTV and NBC Universal.

However, much of this content was available elsewhere on demand, notably YouTube and the broadcasters' own on-demand players, none of it was exclusive, and the aim of building a one-stop aggregration of UK archive content was derailed when ITV declined to join.

Despite having a sleek and positively reviewed player, Seesaw failed to make much headway in a market dominated by BBC iPlayer and YouTube. A £5m ad campaign devised by agency Fallon on launch failed to drum up the numbers. Subscription figures are not revealed

Arqiva paid around £8 million for the assets, including the brand name and technology, developed by Project Kangaroo, which was broken up after the intervention of the Competition Commission.

In January this year Arqiva, under the guidance of new chief executive John Creswell, announced it was seeking an investment partner to take the project forward. Seesaw CEO Pierre-Jean Sebert left the company soon afterwards.

Arqiva remains a partner in the BBC/ITV/C4-backed connected TV platform YouView.

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