If Liberty Global's Mike Fries were to do the "Thank You" note-writing schtick that Jimmy Fallon does weekly on The Tonight Show, his first riff would begin, "Thank you, Netflix, for showing me how to compete with you." That's essentially what the cable giant's president and CEO said during a panel at ANGA Com this week.
"We have Netflix to thank," Fries told attendees during at the tradeshow, according to BroadbandTVNews. He was referring to the way that Netflix's popularity raised the bar for cable operators in general.
While in past years Liberty Global would have described its relationship with Netflix and other SVOD providers as "love/hate," he said, "Today its love/love, because we learned from Netflix, from Amazon, from Maxdome, because we realized it's not really the content, it's the app. It's the experience."
Lessons learned from those SVOD competitors led to the development of Horizon Go, its TV Everywhere offering. Having on-demand content available across multiple devices is a big selling point to Liberty Global subscribers, according to Fries.
Would U.S. cable operators have the same benevolent outlook on Netflix? That's difficult to say, but Tier 1 providers have upped their on-demand game in response to the threat posed by cord cutters. For example, Comcast finally eased up and allowed its broadband subscribers to access HBO Go on their Amazon Fire TV devices and sticks--although it still doesn't allow the app to authenticate on PlayStation consoles.
On the other hand, smaller cable operators see cautious unity with SVOD services as a way to differentiate themselves from competition. Suddenlink, for example, inked a deal with Netflix in May to offer the OTT service through its TiVo-manufactured set top boxes.
- BroadbandTVNews has this story
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