SeeSaw Stealing Hulu’s Lunch in the UK
Ah, Hulu. How we made fun of thee. How we love thee now. Unless, of course, we live outside the United States—then we kind of hate thee for not letting us watch your shows. Although they planned to launch to the British Isles in September 2009, that has been delayed until 2010—and naturally, that vacuum is being filled. Competitor SeeSaw is set to open in beta tomorrow with three content licenses in place.
Hulu’s plans to expand into the UK and Ireland were slated to include their American content as well as content from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. ITV now almost certainly will not participate (yet). Licensing agreements with American networks originally kept the service from expanding; rumor has it that Hulu’s demands for exclusive content licensing with British networks have been a major stumbling block. Channel 4, for example, has already licensed its content to YouTube and SeeSaw.
Since we made fun of Hulu’s name (and it is silly), we may as well take a look at this one, too. Although the name SeeSaw conjures up playground images, it may be far more accurate for a video site than just about anything else we’ve seen, considering it contains the verbs “see” and “saw.” (And hey, isn’t video the playground of the Internet?)
Of course, it’s now Americans’ turn to pout: SeeSaw isn’t available outside the UK. (Is the Republic of Ireland just screwed, so?)
Now the onus is on Hulu: they must get these content deals sorted out and fast, or SeeSaw could corner the market. Hulu would still have one hope in a SeeSaw-dominated world: the draw of their American content. SeeSaw’s current catalog is pretty limited—perhaps Hulu could bring more UK and US content to the British Isles.
What do you think? Will Hulu be able to get content deals in place in time to unseat SeeSaw? Will Hulu’s American and expanded UK content be enough to draw away soon-to-be-SeeSawers (SeeSawyers?)?