“We want to see our editorial programme seen by as many people as possible, so we are investigating going beyond the laptop and the PC and we are in discussions with set-top box manufacturers, TV manufacturers and game console manufacturers to understand how we can launch the experience onto these devices, said SeeSaw CEO Pierre-Jean Sebert at a press briefing in London. “Central to that is Canvas and we are looking closely into what the Canvas development will be and we hope we are capable of having SeeSaw offered on several of these routes to market.”
Taking SeeSaw out of beta, where it has been testing since January 26 with 20,000 users, the company revealed a clean looking portal with no banner advertising and the previously announced content from BBC Worldwide, Channel 4, Five and UK-based independent producers. Around 3,000 hours of programming is presently available, supported by pre-roll and mid-roll commercials in 60-second slots. Channel 4 and Five will sell their own inventory, while other content providers will receive a split of advertising revenue, according to the terms of their deal.
Another 2,000 hours of paid content will be added from BBC Worldwide and US producers during Q2, though SeeSaw is keen for viewers not to be disappointed by finding their chosen programme is only available to rent. “We are obviously looking into the pay methods, pay packages and pay propositions. So this includes transactional VOD as well as subscription packages,” Sebert confirmed.
Titles promoted on the home page include Shameless, Green Wing, Man stroke Woman, The Apprentice and Kingdom. As a distinct TV offering, there will be no movies on See Saw, though some US TV movies will be made available. A nice touch is that when a programme is selected – at speeds of 500 kbps, 800 kbps and 1,500 kbps – the screen dims to highlight the content. The picture quality itself was more than sufficient to be displayed on the small cinema screen at the launch venue.
With competing and overlapping platforms such as the iPlayer, Virgin Media, Sky Player, and the prospect of Hulu entering the UK market, SeeSaw is placing an emphasis on the editorial aspects of its service. Programmes will be themed under such categories as “Weird and Wonderful” and “Double Acts” and the team will ensure that, for example, when the new season of Doctor Who premieres on BBC One, SeeSaw will be ready with classic episodes.