Bebo Owner Bidding For UK TV Streamer SeeSaw

The private equity turnaround company which took Bebo off AOL’s hands is negotiating a buy-out of the underperforming UK TV site SeeSaw, which was put up for sale last month.

News has emerged from discussions that Criterion Capital Partners, led by Adam Levin, wants to buy the service from Arqiva, the broadcast transmitter infrastructure company which owns SeeSaw.

That would suggest Criterion would aim to apply some spit and polish to tart SeeSaw up for an eventual follow-on sale, rather than an alternative option, which might be a peer like Hulu buying SeeSaw to finally gain a beachhead in to the UK, a market it’s still failed to break.

To succeed, SeeSaw will need to sign more content licenses, improve the product and find a better commercial sweet spot.

SeeSaw is the eventual realisation of Project Kangaroo, the aborted UK TV VOD JV that was ordered to be shut down on Competition Commission concerns. Arqiva bought the technology, which is essentially the original Ioko video player, secured rights to some BBC Worldwide, Channel 4 and Channel 5 shows and tasked ad salespeople with slapping up to three 30-second pre-rolls in front of TV shows.

That didn’t work out so well on the web. As an alternative, SeeSaw tried inviting its users to pick which ads they want to watch, and a £2.99 monthly subscription to remove the ads. Subscription figures aren’t available, but SeeSaw clocked eight million monthly uniques. It could have a great shot when the connected TV market becomes a reality.