C4, C5 withdrawal of content proves terminal

LONDON — Struggling U.K. VOD platform SeeSaw has closed, just three months after San Francisco-based investor Criterion Capital Partners bought a majority stake from Arqiva, the U.K. transmission company that bowed SeeSaw in February 2010.

SeeSaw went dark Friday after Channel 4 and Channel 5 withdrew their content.

A spokesman said, “Arqiva is very disappointed by the failure of the new investors to provide their committed funding. Without that funding, the service had to close.”

Ian Maude, head of Internet at Enders Analysis, said Seesaw didn’t have the kind of content that drives significant levels of usage. “They were in a very competitive market. ITV wouldn’t supply content, and Channel 4 only did for a while. With competition from YouTube, they just didn’t have a chance.”

The U.K. VOD market is becoming increasingly competitive. YouTube recently launched a movie rental service, while Netflix will bow in 2012. Blinkbox was taken over by Blighty’s biggest supermarket chain, Tesco, this year. – — Steve Clarke

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