Europe’s ‘biggest TV show’ opens tent to Liberty Global, other pay-TV conglomerates

Liberty Global currently offers its Horizon TV, which it describes as its "revolutionary media and entertainment platform."
1. Welcome to FierceCable's 2016 IBC Preview Issue
2. Europe’s ‘biggest TV show’ opens tent to Liberty Global, other pay-TV conglomerates
3. VR technologies to draw big focus at IBC 2016
4. CBS, HBO, others shop for OTT distribution tech at IBC

European cable and satellite operators, for example, go to IBC every year, “mostly to check out new tech and see colleagues, network, etc.,” said video industry analyst Alan Wolk. “It’s the biggest European TV show and they go for the same reason U.S. pay-TV ops go to NAB.”While it’s labeled as a broadcast event, IBC has steadily evolved into a broad tent for anyone, particularly in Europe, involved in video delivery.

With personnel from European cable operators comprising around 1.2 percent of IBC 2015’s constituency, the pay-TV business isn’t the show’s bread and butter. But the interests are melding.

Indeed, in terms of delivering and monetizing video, broadcasters and pay-TV operators are facing the same IP-based paradigm shift to cloud-based delivery systems, app-based consumer interfaces and mobile platforms.

In fact, Liberty Global (Europe’s largest pay-TV operator controlling cable systems in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Poland, the United Kingdom and elsewhere) isn’t just a technology shopper at IBC. Once again this year, Liberty will also be one of IBC’s biggest exhibitors. Liberty has a history of showing off forward-looking tech at the confab.

In 2013, for example, it showed of the integration of TiVo’s operating system into its video platform — a technology scheme that has become a staple for small and mid-sized operators around the globe.

And last year at IBC, Liberty showed off Horizon Lite, a version of its next-generation video platform that’s designed to run on older set-top boxes that don’t support IP connections. It’s based on the same ActiveVideo technology used by Charter’s Spectrum Guide in the United States.

Also last year, Liberty used IBC to demonstrate the high-speed modem, Connect Box, it deploys in systems including Ziggo, Telenet and Virgin Media.

At this year’s confab, Liberty is likely to demo Eos, it’s plan to consolidate its advanced set-top platforms currently spread across Europe.

Beyond exhibitors, operators will also play a role in a conference program once again focused on UHD and multiscreen delivery.

For example, Stephan Heimbacher, director of innovations and standards for German satellite TV operator Sky Deutschland, will appear on a Sept. 8 panel focused on 4K service launches across the globe.

On Sept. 9, Kerris Bright, CMO of Virgin Media in the UK, will appear in “The Evolution of the Consumer Experience.”

Also on Sept. 9, Mark Giesberts, VP of entertainment products for Liberty Global, will speak alongside executives from Discovery Networks and Akamai on the panel, “Has the Death of Live Been Exaggerated?

According to an Altice NV rep, the Amsterdam operator will send several executives from its U.S. operation to IBC this year.