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Liberty Global agrees landmark Netflix deal

netflixLiberty Global has struck a multi-year partnership with Netflix to make the SVOD provider’s content available to its subscribers in 30 countries around the world.

Liberty Global will launch Netflix on its advanced digital TV platforms across Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean – starting with the Netherlands.

Mike Fries“This deal will provide even more freedom to our subscribers – allowing them to access a goldmine of amazing TV and films at the click of a button, fully integrated into their usual TV viewing set-up,” said Liberty Global CEO, Mike Fries. The Liberty boss has said previously that the Netflix business model is ‘challenged’.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said today that the partnership will allow “millions of our mutual customers around the world to easily access the broadest range of TV shows and movies without having to search for that other remote control.”

Reed Hastings“Combining the Netflix app – and all the great content it provides – into the familiar, easy-to-use cable box makes both more appealing.”

The new deal follows the launch of Netflix on Liberty Global-owned Virgin Media’s TiVo platform back in 2013 – the same year that Liberty acquired the UK pay TV provider.

Liberty said that the new deal shows its commitment to providing customers with the best in entertainment across TVs, tablets or mobile phones, adding that it compliments the 6,000 hours of movies, TV series and documentaries it already offers on-demand via services like MyPrime andPlay.

When the Netflix app launches on Liberty Global’s platforms, existing Netflix subscribers will be able to log-in to access the service while new customers will be able to sign up via the TV app.

Liberty Global will launch Netflix on its Horizon box in the Netherlands and said it will roll it out to other countries as “technological upgrades” continue through 2017.  

The deal comes after Liberty Global said in May that it will consolidate its next-generation set-top platforms, including ultimately that of Virgin Media in the UK, as part of a project dubbed ‘Eos’.

Eos is part of the wider strategic plan, formerly known as ‘Liberty 3.0’, designed to reduce company costs through, among other things, common technology platforms.

In August, Virgin Media CEO, Tom Mockridge, said that Virgin plans to roll-out the EOS set-top box later this year, built with the TiVo UI, rather than the Horizon interface used by Liberty elsewhere in Europe.

According to IHS research released earlier this year, Netflix, prior to the Liberty deal, had active partnerships with a total of 25 pay TV providers – including Virgin Media, BT TV and Com Hem.

In research presented at the IHS Technology London Media Seminar in May, IHS senior principal analyst, Ted Hall, said that Netflix’s pay TV partners are typically operators that do not have significant direct interests in content themselves, claiming that for pay TV operators the “risks and implications” of partnering with Netflix include the reduction of TVOD consumption and cannibalisation of an operator’s own SVOD offering.