CABLE CONGRESS 2013 – LONDON. Liberty Global could still see 80% of its revenues in Europe derived from only five markets in five years time, according to Mike Fries, the company’s president and CEO.
However, speaking in a wide-ranging interview, he added that it would continue to look at surrounding markets.
When asked specifically about its plans for CEE, he said that the region was a historic part of its business and that the company would stick it out there.
Commenting on the Virgin Media acquisition, Fries said that the UK operator was “a great asset, a great brand” and had an “extremely competent management team”. What was more, the two companies had “the same DNA”, and scale, which makes it much easier to launch new products, should not be underestimated.
Although Fries did not address the future of TiVo, he spoke at some length about that of future plans for Horizon.
These include a better remote and moving to the cloud, where a UI and an increasing amount of content will be stored.
Significantly, Fries ruled out the possibility of Liberty competing with the likes of Sky for sports rights.
Furthermore, it is not looking to buy any content provider, “but never say never”.
Fries also conceded that the biggest challenge that Liberty faces is from telcos and that it sometimes has difficulties with regulators on a national – though not European – level.
Commenting on mobile, he said that it would be important for operators such as Liberty to have a quad play option.
Although it has looked at acquisitions in the mobile sector, there were challenges. What is more, he conceded that mobile could be a threat as much as an opportunity.
When questioned about Netflix and HBO Go, Fries identified some the challenges in the former’s business model. These include the fact that 70% of its revenues go to content providers.
Horizon has solved these problems and as a concept is here to stay, while as a technology it will evolve.
Should Apple ever approach Liberty, it would consider any economic relationship that makes sense.