Liberty Global to make ‘smart’ investments in content

Chausée d'Amour

Chausée d’Amour

Liberty Global plans to make “smart, opportunistic investments” in content following its recent announcement that it would commission four original drama series from All3Media, according to president and CEO Mike Fries.

Speaking to analysts after the company unveiled strong Q2 financial results at the end of last week, Fries said that the group would make “smart, relatively small investments in multiple markets to get some content on our platforms that’s unique to us”. He said Liberty was now putting more emphasis on SVOD content and rights that drive growth of its TV Everywhere platform.

Fries said that Liberty’s content movies would not “significantly change the weighting of [the company’s] balance sheet or cash flows”, however.

While video only accounts for 35% of the company’s revenues, Fries said that it is a “critical part” of the bundle and that content costs would grow year-on-year at or above the rate of increase in revenues, because content drives revenues across the bundle. He said these increases would be offset by decreases in direct costs.

Fries said that analysts should “expect more” of the type of content deals it has done with All3Media, adding that its relationship with Lionsgate, in which it now has a 3.4% stake alongside Discovery, was “off to a great start”.

He said that the four originals from All3Media would be distributed by Liberty Global’s networks exclusively, “at least from the outset”.

Virgin Media UK & Ireland, Unity Media in Germany, Ziggo in the Netherlands and Cable & Wireless, VTR and Liberty Puerto Rico will all air the shows.

Fries said that Belgian subsidiary Telenet’s investment in content was also bearing fruit, citing the fact that Chausée d’Amour, the brothel-set SVoD original it commissioned from production outfit De Mensen, had broken records in Flanders with half a million streams requested in the first two weeks. The series debuted on May 10 on Telenet Play and Play More.

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