UK's SeeSaw Set For March Launch

Online UK TV aggregator SeeSaw has set a March launch date and is reportedly close to announcing deals with broadcasters Channel 4 and Five.

It has been in beta since December and begins a further closed, invite-only trial this week.

In December SeeSaw announced its first partnership deal with BBC Worldwide which will see content including drama Doctor Who and comedy That Mitchell & Webb Look available on demand supported by pre-and mid-roll advertising.

Additional international and US programming is expected to be offered as a paid-for service. The venture is owned and managed by Arqiva, a transmissions technology and services giant which bought the assets, including the brand, from project Kangaroo last July.

A key missing content partner is broadcaster ITV which is reluctant to strike exclusive third-party content deals.

“We are not going to make short term deals,” confirmed director of ITV Online Ben McOwen Wilson. “We don’t have rights burning a hole in our pocket because we’re doing nothing with them. On the contrary we have a very healthy online video sales business [ is trading a 50% year on year revenue increase] therefore we would only consider exclusivity where it left us in a position where we were also part owner of that platform in the medium to long term.”

ITV has also been courted by Hulu. “If you’re the owner of a large library of attractive rights people are prepared to put significant advances on the table,” says McOwen Wilson. “The caution we are considering is that when the online VOD business has grown and a service has less reliance on one supplier, more of the spoils go to the gatekeeper.”

The senior SeeSaw management team includes chief executive Pierre-Jean Sebert, platform controller John Keeling and commercial director Matt Rennie.

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