Geo Art Cache
Epiphany’s London Expansion Continues as Demand Rises
Ups and Downs: The End of SeeSaw.com.
31 May 2011
The online TV on-demand service SeeSaw.com will close next month, which is a shame, as I have been a supporter of the service since it was raised from the ashes of Project Kangaroo and launched last year. SeeSaw.com offered around 3,000 hours of free content from various UK broadcasters, supported by adverts and a paid for premium service. It was a service I used at least once a week, not being a fan of the majority of scheduled television programmes, and having the necessary hardware in place to use the service from my sofa. According to a YouGov report, 30% of UK adults said they regularly watch television online, so why has SeeSaw failed to attract an investment? The obvious reason for this, I think , is the hardware issues associated with accessing online TV services.
Most of the adults polled will have watched these shows on a PC, which is not the preferred way to watch television. The ubiquity of existing TV services means that until there is a piece of hardware, which will offer web-based on demand services out of the box with minim fuss and set up and put these services in the hands of the average home user, there will not be a clear winner in the marketplace. YouView, a BBC backed project will look to combine content and hardware in to one system, is planned to launch next year is looking to be the best horse to back for the future. YouView look like they are managing to resolve the licensing limitations associated to IPTV services such as SeeSaw.com. This was never featured on the hardware which is normally plugged in to most living room TV - game consoles. The Wii, PS3 and Xbox all offer on-demand and catch up services which integrate well in the issues surrounding navigating web-based content from the sofa (currently the Xbox only supports SKYTV in the UK). This ten-foot user interface (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10-foot_user_interface) problem has, in my mind, been the major issue for SeeSaw. No matter how good your content is, navigating through it via tiny text and images has always been the issue for most users. Since SeeSaw was never able to resolve the licensing issues with the content they offered from the various broadcasters, they could not offer their service on a gaming console which would have been a significant breakthrough in terms of growing a users base that could have saved them. Despite all the talk about the web changing how we use TV, the existing paradigms of the point of delivery are still the same. It has to be quick and easy to access the content. SeeSaw got the content right but could not offer a solution to how viewers accessed it, which for most households is the most important factor. I am going to enjoy my last month with SeeSaw.com, but my dreams of it being the Hulu for the UK have been dashed!