SeeSaw Seeks Investment Partner

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Arqiva, which handles TV and radio transmitters for most UK broadcasters, is seeking an investment partner for its online TV service SeeSaw.

The aim is to accelerate the development of the service, which launched in February 2010. The announcement follows a strategic review of Arqiva's business units.

"We've been looking at SeeSaw as part of a wider strategic review and, following the success in launching a pioneering new service to both consumers and advertisers, we now believe the service needs further investment to reach its full potential," said Nick Thompson, Managing Director of Arqiva's Broadcast & Media business unit in a statement.

"SeeSaw is backed by unique technology and will be a major part of the connected TV revolution, but we need to enable a step-change in the development of the service in what is a very fast moving environment."

Arqiva plans to look at all investment options for the business in order to support SeeSaw's long-term success.

SeeSaw launched a year ago and has amassed well over 3,000 hours of VOD content in deals with BBC Worldwide, Channel 4, and Five, as well as UK distributor Digital Rights Group and indie producers such as Talkback Thames and Shed. It also has a paid service featuring content from MTV, BBC Worldwide, and NBC Universal.

Arqiva is also a partner in the BBC-backed YouView video-on-demand venture and recently appointed a new CEO in John Cresswell, who officially joined the company this week.

Cresswell, the former COO of commercial broadcaster ITV, replaces Tom Bennie, who has been Arqiva chief executive since 2005.

"The key attraction is that there are huge opportunities and massive potential for growth," Cresswell told The Guardian. "The spectrum released from digital switchover means opportunity, look at the proliferation of mobile devices and handsets and the need for network upgrades. Tom Alexander [Orange's UK chief executive] is talking about 4G and 5G by the end of the decade ... and we are well placed for that."

During his time at ITV Cresswell was involved in Project Kangaroo, the ill-fated attempt to launch an online TV platform with BBC Worldwide and Channel 4.

The technology developed for Project Kangaroo was acquired by Arqiva and formed the basis for SeeSaw after competition regulators blocked the service.

"It is on a list of things I need to look at," he said. "I should take a look and understand what the plans are for it. The Kangaroo technology was very good."

Arqiva's turnover is £850 million, with more than 2,000 employees based at around 80 locations in the UK, Europe, and the U.S.

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