Fries: Netflix a great lesson

Mike Fries, CEO of Liberty Global, says he and Reed Hastings are far from enemies, no, “Netflix has taught us all a great lesson; all we were missing was a great app, that gives a great experience around the home and away in cool way,” he says.

His answer is MyPrime, the Liberty OTT service that in the UK will have 70 per cent of their available content and retail for a fixed £6.50 (€8.30) or may be given away to top customers. “Give subscribers the app – experiences they want, and make it free if possible, and they won’t go anywhere.”

In a fireside chat with Tony Werner, CTO Comcast and formerly Liberty Global, Fries reflected on LG’s basic philosophy, “speed and scale… leading with broadband speed to sell the quad play and building a scale to leverage buying power on CPE and content.”

He characterised the competition as formidable in the form of incumbents, though he allowed that most hadn’t got their act together yet.

Going forward, Fries sees cooperation as an industry as vital – using the US model. “In Europe most operators were VCs and that doesn’t lead to any ‘collegiality’. We’ve progressed that with support for CableLabs international and other organisations. It’s never been more important for the industry to work together to compete with mega global operations like Netflix and Google.” He said common standards and architectures to leverage and speed innovations was vital: “RDK is a DOCSIS moment. We are 100 per cent behind it.”

Asked what kept him awake at night, Fries replied a lot less than a few years ago because he felt they had faced passed threats well. “The European Union is no friend to Silicon Valley, it has shown a desire to protect consumer privacy and try and preserve competition, so that’s good. I guess the threats are really about macro security, what you can’t control; issues like Ukraine are right on your doorstep, for instance.”

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