Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries (Nasdaq: LBTYA) isn't afraid of Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) and isn't afraid to say so in a public forum.
"I'm not worried about their business, quite frankly from a competitive point of view. If we do our job right, they've got no shot," Fries said during Cable Congress 2013 in London, as reported by Digital TV Europe.
The "Netflix business model has challenges," Fries said. "When 70 percent of your revenue is being paid to content providers and your average EBITDA per customer is 50 cents per month, I'm not so sure that's a sustainable model."
Fries also pointed out that Netflix, which he said has about 3 million international customers, is "losing $400 million per year--I don't know if that is sustainable."
Liberty Global, he said, is focused on establishing a platform that includes a cloud-based interface and a better remote to deliver service "that gives consumers no reason to go anywhere else."
He offered a backhanded compliment to Netflix by admitting that the platform was in part shaped by lessons learned from Netflix about what users want.
"One will be a better remote. We have a remote that has a keyboard on the back, for example, so you can easily search for things without poking through a screen," Fries said.
Another improvement Fries touted was a transfer of the company's Horizon platform from the set-top box to the cloud.
"Horizon as a concept is here to stay, but Horizon as technology will evolve," he said. "The user interface will move to the cloud. Network PVR elements of it will be enhanced. Things will get smaller. The UI will evolve as well as get slicker. We'll bring in new apps and pieces to the puzzle."
Fries' expansiveness, though, apparently ended when it came to Virgin Media (Nasdaq: VMED), which Liberty recently acquired, since he would not comment on whether Virgin would adopt the Horizon platform or continue to use TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO).
- Digital TV Europe carried this story
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