Liberty Global predicts operator-broadcaster win-win for second screen

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    Liberty Global, which owns the UPC cable networks across Europe, is among the Pay TV operators that has recognised the potential to provide an entry point to synchronised second screen experiences from broadcasters whose programming is available on the platform. Speaking at Apps World this week, Ivo Lochtman, Vice President of Content Products at the company, noted that broadcaster and programme related second screen apps have relatively low usage today so there is a win-win opportunity if the second screen EPG (made available as part of Liberty Global’s Horizon multiscreen service) can help consumers find them.

    “We hope to create a situation where customers are using their phone or tablet as a remote control and for content discovery, and then if we bring in the broadcast second screen experiences it could propel usage and reach. We are discussing this with broadcasters at the moment.”

    Lochtman stressed that Liberty Global does not view itself as a future gatekeeper to synchronized second screen experiences and has no interest in ‘exploiting’ any prominence it might achieve in routing viewers to programming and programme-related second screen interactive TV content. The focus is firmly on partnership and this certainly rules out any attempt to tap into the second screen advertising market in competition with what broadcasters are hoping to achieve.

    “For the operator, the long-term play is to keep customers happy so they pay a triple-play subscription and to keep companies like Apple and Google out of their business. The relationship with broadcasters is crucial, and for most broadcasters today second screen is a way for them to sell more advertising. The last thing we want to do is take away someone else’s advertising revenue,” he said.

    Lochtman pointed out that the synchronized second screen advertising market is insignificant in comparison to total TV advertising anyway, but did say that if Liberty Global could deploy advertising technologies that help a broadcaster grow their advertising share then they would look to make money from that.

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