SeeSaw battle for VOD viewers

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SeeSaw VOD service is here

Online marketing specialists are casting their eye over a new video-on-demand (VOD) website that launched today.

SeeSaw, developed by media services company Arqiva, boasts more than 3,000 hours of ad-supported TV programming. The portal provides a seven-day catch-up TV service for Channel 4 and Channel Five as well as archive footage from BBC Worldwide, reports the BBC.

Although ITV has not signed up to the VOD project, SeeSaw can stream some archive programming from the channel after striking a deal with several independent producers. TV shows on offer include Footballers' Wives, Doc Martin, Kingdom, The Apprentice, Doctor Who, Hollyoaks, Neighbours and Skins.

Online marketing opportunities on SeeSaw

All programmes are currently free to view, with Arqiva hoping to make money by selling unskippable 60-second pre- and mid-roll online advertising slots. High-profile companies such as Ikea, Kraft and Diageo have already signed SeeSaw ad agreements. By the end of June 2010, Arqiva also hopes to introduce a micropayment system for renting premium content like major US series.

SeeSaw is based on technology from Project Kangaroo, an ill-fated attempt by terrestrial channels to provide a centralised video-on-demand portal that was rejected by the Competition Commission. Broadcaster-owned services such as BBC iPlayer, 4oD and Demand Five already offer free TV programming to consumers.

Chris Curtis, news editor at TV industry publication Broadcast, said that providing sizeable viewing figures for online marketing specialists is critical to VOD providers. "The difficulty for all these guys is getting enough viewers to site to view the content to make the advertising model stack up," he explained. "People generally associate conventional standard TV with being free at point of viewing."