January 31, 2013

Liberty Global did outline its Netflix peace terms

Mike Fries, President and CEO at Liberty Global, made it clear last week that he expected his various cable operations to see off the threat of Netflix in his subscriber homes thanks to the better user experience you get with the Horizon platform. He was talking to the Bloomberg news channel from Davos in Switzerland and declared: “Nobody is going to get their OTT services from Netflix when we’re done.”

Liberty Global has previously outlined the conditions under which it could actually partner with Netflix, however. Speaking at the IHS Future of Digital Media Distribution conference in London last October, Bob Greene, Managing Director of Online Entertainment at Liberty Global International, stated: “Netflix is not an aggregator; it is a channel. We could work with Netflix and look at them as another channel, the same as HBO. We talk to everyone.

“The roadblock to that happening is the question of who owns the consumer and the integration of their content into this aggregator world. They want access to 20 million customers and that is real hard to do, so this [approach, i.e. being a channel partner] is how you get access. For a cable operator, they can be a competitor or you can embrace them. We could [embrace them] in a model that works for us and for them, where they get paid and we get paid.”