An investor consortium led by Criterion Capital Partners has bought SeeSaw.com, a site that aspired to become Hulu of the U.K. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but former owner Arqiva is retaining a 25 percent stake in the video platform. SeeSaw’s new chairman will be Michael Jackson, who previously served as controller at BBC One and Two as well as CEO at the U.K.’s Channel 4.
SeeSaw has a bit of a turbulent past: The site is the heir of Project Kangaroo, a failed attempt by the BBC and other U.K. broadcasters to launch a Hulu-like joint-venture for catchup TV viewing. Kangaroo was found to be anti-competitive by U.K. regulators before it could even get off the ground, and the project’s assets were bought by Arqiva for £8 million ($12.9 million) two years ago. Arqiva used the technology to launch its own video platform under the name SeeSaw in early 2010 and has since grown the service to close to one million unique visitors per month.
However, it became clear earlier this year that Arqiva wasn’t willing or able to grow the service on its own. The company actively looked for additional investors, but was apparently haunted by the ghosts of SeeSaw’s past: Getting one the big broadcasters on board would have been the best bet to turn SeeSaw into a success story, but it was also close to impossible due to the anti-competition ruling against Project Kangaroo.