Entertainment ‘increasingly critical’ for Liberty Global, says Fries

Entertainment is “increasingly a critical part of the bundle” of service for Liberty Global, according to the company’s CEO Mike Fries, despite the company’s emphasis on fixed-mobile convergence and broadband.

Liberty Global CEO, Mike Fries

Speaking to analysts after Liberty posted disappointing results at the end of last week, Fries said that an integrated entertainment offering, including the super-aggregation of multiple services, was a key reason for customers to choose and stay with the company as their provider.

“Some have asked, is it necessary to offer a video service? The answer is yes, especially in Europe, where a significant percentage of customers say that’s one reason why they subscribe to our broadband service. Fortunately, we’ve been integrating streaming apps into our platforms for some time, and customers increasingly rely on us to access their favourite providers,” said Fries.

Fries said that Liberty Global’s operating companies were also adapting to new modes of entertainment consumption, pointing to Virgin Media O2’s recent launch of the TV Stream box in the UK, “targeting really a new digital-first segment of viewers” and highlighting the company’s quality of broadband service.

New entertainment offers

Fries said that Liberty’s Global’s subsidiaries remained active in innovating with new entertainment offers, citing the example of MySports in Switzerland, investment in original content in Belgium and offering free access to the Ziggo Sport offering in the Netherlands.

Fries comments came after the company reported earnings that reflected what Fries characterised as “challenging times”.

Posting its first full Q2 numbers since the creation of its UK joint venture with Telefónica, the company reported rebased revenues down 1% to US$1.75 billion and adjusted EBITDA down 3.6% to US$649.8 million.

The company lost 19,900 customers overall in the quarter to June, up from 2,400 losses for the same period last year, with the vast majority of those losses occurring in Q2.

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