Arqiva Seeking Investment Partner for its SeeSaw Broadband TV Service

UK broadcast transmission company, Arqiva, said Wednesday that, following a strategic review, it is seeking an investment partner for its broadband TV service, SeeSaw (offers programming from the BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5, as well as from Disney, MTV and NBC Universal), with the aim of accelerating the development of the service.

Arqiva--which is also a partner in YouView, an initiative that sees various major UK public-service broadcasters and ISP's attempting to develop a common standard and interface for the delivery of online catch-up services such as the BBC iPlayer, the ITV player and 4oD, as well as other Internet-based services (including VOD and interactive TV widgets), to broadband-connected Freeview and Freesat set-top boxes--launched SeeSaw last February after acquiring the platform assets of Project Kangaroo, the VOD platform developed by UKVOD, a joint venture between the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, and terrestrial broadcasters, ITV and Channel 4, for a price believed to be in the £8 million range (note: Project Kangaroo was believed to be close to launch, when it was nixed in February, 2009 by the Competition Commission, an independent public body that investigates mergers, markets and regulated industries at the UK government's behest). Arqiva's decision to seek additional investment for the service comes after a major reorganization of the company's business units, which was announced last October. "We've been looking at SeeSaw as part of a wider strategic review and, following the success in launching a pioneering new service to both consumers and advertisers, we now believe the service needs further investment to reach its full potential," Nick Thompson, managing director of Arqiva's Broadcast and Media business, said in a prepared statement. "SeeSaw is backed by unique technology and will be a major part of the connected-TV revolution, but we need to enable a step-change in the development of the service in what is a very fast-moving environment."

Arqiva says that it "plans to look at all investment options for the business in order to support SeeSaw's long-term success"--including, according to The Guardian, selling the business outright.