Is SeeSaw too late to the online party?

In a way SeeSaw is an old-school approach to video on demand. More and more televisions are coming to market equipped with broadband and Ethernet connectivity. While the reason for this is being touted as applications for your TV – like up-to-date weather news and stock reports – the key to this connectivity will be VoD.

Project Canvas is pushing itself as the portal to web video content on your television. It's hoping for a 'sit back' approach to viewing TV piped from the web.

Built by the BBC, BT and ITV, the service is set to bring BBC, Channel 4, ITV and Channel Five on-demand content to your TV, much in the same way that your get channels at the moment.

Project Canvas wants to be a TV-friendly web portal piped through Canvas-compliant set-top boxes - and eventually TVs - which will offer content from a multitude of sources (including internet-only TV channels) but through one, simple user interface.


While Project Canvas wants to get intimate with your TV, SeeSaw is capturing the online lunch bunch – those who want to catch up telly they missed the night before.

It's in direct competition with iPlayer, 4oD and even YouTube, who recently started adding shows to the site.

But broadcasters whose content straddles all of the above don't care about where their programmes are seen – as long as they are seen.

This is why SeeSaw could well become a success in the UK market. It may not have the Hulu draw of event TV. There's no Losts or 24s on the SeeSaw service (though there would be if Channel 4 and Five invested money into these shows), instead there's lighter fare like the IT Crowd and Hustle.

But for those fed up of website-hopping it will come as welcome relief.


Unfortunately, the Competition Commission has made it so that the UK will never get a Hulu-like service. Even when Hulu does eventually launch in the UK – and it's currently stuck fighting a war over advertising – it won't house anywhere near the content the US version has. Its niche will be US content that is currently not available over here.

SeeSaw feels like a latecomer to a party which is already ending. iPlayer has already snaffled top spot for the UK VoD market and it won't budge, despite its lack of non-BBC content.

In fact iPlayer is growing in stature as it moves away from computers and on to smartphones and games consoles.

This is something SeeSaw needs to latch on to quick, otherwise it'll find there's no demand for its video on demand.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.