Liberty Global lays into Netflix

Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries suggested that Netflix will one day be history during an interview recorded for Bloomberg at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Fries congratulated Netflix for establishing that consumers wanted access to content on multiple devices but went on to indicate that its lack of premium content in a short window meant that it would lose out to cable operators once they got their multiscreen strategies sorted out. Fries argued that with its Horizon hybrid box now being rolled out across Europe, Liberty Global was ready to nail Netflix, and that DVR provider TiVo would also find it hard going.

“Nobody gets their DVR from TiVo anymore, and no one will get their over-the-top services from Netflix when we’re done,” Fries is reported as saying. Such bullish sentiments will not go down well with all Liberty Global’s MSO competitors, given that some of them have partnerships with TiVo over hybrid services, and some have been at least discussing distribution agreements with Netflix. UK MSO Virgin Media, with almost 4 million subs the country’s number two pay TV operator after BSkyB, is Europe’s most successful TiVo customer. Well over 1 million of Virgin’s pay TV subscribers, about a third of the base, have converted to the premium TiVo subscription enabling integrated access to OTT content including YouTube within a revamped EPG, since the launch of this service in December 2010.