SeeSaw launches, UK's answer to Hulu or another Joost?

[UK] While we Brits wait, and wait, for any sign of a Hulu UK launch, a rival offering has stepped in to try and fill the void.

SeeSaw, the Arqiva-owned Online TV service based on assets bought from Kangaroo, the defunct joint venture between broadcasters BBC, ITV and Channel 4, has today opened its doors to the public.

And although the UI is pleasing to the eye, it faces the oh so familiar challenge of being a third-party aggregator: a dearth of exclusive content.

The service claims 3,000 hours of ad-supported content at launch garnered from the archives of BBC World Wide and the existing catch-up offerings of Channel 4 and Five. In other words, it’s mostly content that you can easily find elsewhere, meaning that SeeSaw has to compete largely on brand recognition and the convenience of having content, which is normally spread across the destination sites of multiple broadcasters, all in one place. That latter requires the majority of content to be licensed from every major player – and that won’t happen over night, if ever.

Anyone remember Joost?

The press release also boasts the lack of display advertising, adding to the ‘televisual’ user experience. I counted two full length pre-roll ads on the content that I sampled. TV-style ads lasting up to 30 seconds each, not those designed for the web, which felt a little heavy handed but presumably will please traditional advertisers. There’s mid-roll ads too.

Moving forward, SeeSaw aims to add a further 2,000 hours of programming on the service for its pay-per-view launch, scheduled for Q2. So it seems that despite their heavy-handiness, the ads won’t cut it alone.