It’s official, Netflix is taking Liberties to get eyeballs

Spending days on end in front of the tele making arse-prints on the sofa has gotten easier following a landmark deal between Liberty Global and Netflix.

It is no secret that the relentless growth of OTT video players has left operators sweating over their revenues. Liberty Global thought the best way of combatting the threat is to get into bed with it, stick on a box set and chill instead.

Liberty, which owns Virgin Media in the UK, has made a concerted shift to get eyeballs glued to its content in recent times. Not content with being a content distributor, it has been working on creating its own TV shows exclusive for Virgin customers. The latest move by Liberty has been to liberate Netflix content to all of its subscribers in more than 30 countries around the world.

It’s a pretty bold move considering the historically fractious relationship telcos have had with OTT guys in the past. The move totally makes sense too, and means its customers now get inclusive access to cracking tele titles like House of Cards, Daredevil and Narcos, which have till now been exclusive to Netflix subscribers.

The Broadband Battle of Britain (© 2016) has cranked up a notch this year and any incremental gain one operator can gain over another has been massively exacerbated. BT has thrown piles of cash at Premier League and UEFA football rights to bait customers over, and launched its sport service as a freebee on EE tariffs. Sky’s got a pretty attractive sport tele proposition to compel customers, and TalkTalk is probably doing something too.

Apparently this is a bigger deal for Netflix, which is apparently struggling outside the US to grow its user-base.

“Netflix needs subscribers and it needs them fast,” said Paolo Pescatore from CCS Insight. “It is still growing, but not quickly enough in light of its growing costs. A tie-up with Liberty Global gives Netflix more reach and we expect to see more telco and cable relationships over coming months.”

In this week’s podcast, Jesse Whittock from telemag TBI said it probably won’t be long before a major operator group ends up picking up a plumped up OTT content player entirely to boost its own TV proposition. You can listen to it here. Go ahead, it’s good.

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