Arqiva to close SeeSaw

Arqiva is to close its online video portal SeeSaw following a strategic review, the transmission company has confirmed to Broadband TV News.

In an email sent to clients SeeSaw said it would no longer take transactions for rental programmes from May 31, 2011. The online service would then be withdrawn on June 20th to allow an orderly closure of the business as at June 30th 2011.

28 staff including platform controller John Keeling are now in a 30-day consultation period.

Arqiva is member of the YouView consortium and it was widely expected that SeeSaw would appear on the hybrid platform at launch.

“As part of an ongoing strategic business review, we have decided to sell or close the SeeSaw online TV service,” Arqiva said. “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.”.

SeeSaw paid an estimated £8 million (€9.56 million) for the technology developed by Project Kangaroo that was broken up after the intervention of the Competition Commission broke up the BBC-ITV-Channel 4 venture. The service launched in February 2010 with content from BBC Worldwide, Channel 4, Five, Shed Media and talkbackTHAMES. Its business model was a mix of advertising supported and subscription content.

Having refined the software, Arqiva used the IBC congress in Amsterdam in an attempt to sell the technology and knowhow internationally, but to date no contracts have been announced.

In January 2011 Arqiva announced it was seeking an investment partner to take the project forward. A month later it emerged that CEO Pierre-Jean Sebert had left the company as part of the ongoing financial restructure.