Monday, 13 September 2010

Impressions from IBC 1 - Seesaw

I've spent the last few days at the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam, so my next couple of posts will cover some of the more interesting takeaways from interviews and stand visits I carried out at the event. First up, my notes from a talk by Matt Rennie, Commercial Director of Seesaw, the UK online video site that came out of the wreckage of Project Kangaroo.

First up, some numbers:
  • Since its launch in February, Seesaw has averaged about 3M unique visitors a week, from a current UK online video market of 10M-11M visitors
  • It currently has 3,500 hours of ad-funded and 1,500 hours of paid-for content available for streaming
  • Seesaw appears to be addititive to other online portals. 78% of their users are unique vs. 4OD and 96% are unique vs. Demand5

Next, some key factors that have made Seesaw a success:

  • It is based on robust and scaleable technology - a result of large investment by the Kangaroo partners and latterly by new owner, Arqiva
  • The user experience is fantastic, both due to a 'beautiful' UI that gets people into content in 2 clicks and because all the content categorisation is done by human beings, not algorithms. I find this an interesting point - Seesaw is being run like a TV channel on the Internet, not like a traditional aggregator
  • Above all, Seesaw is broadcaster friendly. This is absolutely key in my view. The key things that are vital for a broadcaster are control of their brand and control over their ad sales. Seesaw lets them do both, through skinned broadcaster 'channels' and direct control over sales (they also have an independent sales house to sell for indies)

Finally, key foci for Seesaw going forward:

  • Get onto more devices - Canvas, Apple/ Android and connected TVs were all mentioned
  • Leverage the technology and above all, the business model into other markets
  • Drive forward the UK business by bringing more PSBs (I presume this means ITV...) onto the service

All in all, I thought this was an interesting session, not least for confirming some of the key competitive factors that influence the success of online video services. The reality is that it is content supply that is king in this market and without the support of producers, these services cannot succeed. For all the talk of technology, the rules of the old TV world very much apply online.

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