On-Demand Video Service SeeSaw Beats Hulu to U.K. Launch

clickz_ukandeu.gifLong-form video streaming site SeeSaw launched in the U.K. yesterday, offering users access to free, ad-funded content from their desktops, and beating popular U.S. service Hulu to a U.K. launch.

As audience numbers for its U.S. service grow, Hulu has repeatedly expressed its intent to launch a U.K. product, but was already beaten to market by YouTube with the launch of its Shows section late last year.

In terms of programming, SeeSaw currently features much of the same content already available via YouTube, including that from major U.K. broadcasters Channel 4, Five, and BBC’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide. That content will feature two 60-second pre and mid-roll ad breaks similar to those currently being used by Hulu, and to an extent by traditional broadcast TV companies in the U.K.

At present, the Hulu-esque user interface omits “traditional” ad formats such as banners or MPUs, and focuses squarely on the content. Chief Executive Pierr-Jean Sebert said the absence of ad clutter and user generated video was popular with users it tested the site with prior to launch, Reuters reports. “SeeSaw has been designed for both viewers and advertisers,” he said.

In a similar arrangement to those already in place with YouTube in the U.K., and Hulu in the U.S., a number of sales teams will sell ad inventory on the site. Broadcasters such as Channel 4 will use their own in-house teams to sell against its content, and may choose to bundle sales across a number of platforms if it wishes, including YouTube and its own 4OD site, for example.

Speaking with Clickz in October, Errol Baran, head of future and digital advertising at Channel 4, said advertisers would be “encouraged” to buy across multiple platforms, but would be free to buy into separate ones if they wish.

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