Posts tagged ‘liberty global’

Pushing boundaries: next-gen cable services

As European cable operators tentatively begin to roll out next generation platforms, Graham Pomphrey, Digital TV Europe (@DTVEGraham) assesses the chosen strategies and considers the challenges being faced.

On the Horizon

Although we are at an early stage, the maturing of some western pay TV markets, and the potential for saturation within them, has seen some operators look to advance their already popular services. The strategy is to either upsell additional services like huge VOD libraries, connected TV functionality and associated broadband connection, or to attract often scarce new subscribers. Virgin Media and Ono are already doing the former with TiVo technology, Zon Multimédia is using NDS-based middleware for its Iris platform while Liberty Global’s Horizon is set to launch in the Netherlands in the third quarter, to be followed by Switzerland, Germany, and Ireland later this year.

Liberty Global’s CEO Mike Fries has said Horizon will have a transformative effect on the company by enabling the cable giant to satisfy consumer demand to be able to draw content from the web to the TV, and to receive their ‘cable’ experience across multiple screens. “It will set our customer’s expectations and the quality of the consumer experience at a whole new level,” Fries told DTVE at the Cable Congress event earlier this year.

There is no doubt that Liberty Global has a strong market position, with a customer base of around 18.4 million and existing relationships with content partners. The biggest challenge is how to market the service. With around 10 million subscribers taking analogue services and operations in various emerging markets, Liberty Global, will need to market the service carefully. Fries has already said that Horizon will be “not that expensive”.

Making progress

While Horizon has been on the metaphorical horizon for some time – reports first emerged about the platform as far back as 2010 – cable operators Virgin Media and Ono have already launched services that merge traditional TV with web services. Partnering with US middleware-and-DVR specialist TiVo, both operators have been able to pioneer advanced services in their respective countries.

Virgin Media’s TiVo platform allows users to pause and rewind TV, offers advanced search and recommendation, provides access to catch-up services from the UK’s public broadcasters, including iPlayer, and offers access to web apps from Twitter, eBay, Facebook and Spotify amongst others.

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Interview with Michael T Fries, President & CEO, Liberty Global at Cable Congress 2012

Liberty Global outlines marketing plan for Horizon

Liberty Global will emphasise the different capabilities of its new Horizon box in different markets, according to Peter Dorr, managing director, strategic marketing, sales and customer care, Europe, Liberty Global.

The operator has created 10 categories of features, allowing marketers in each country in which the box is launched to pick a selection for their particular market, Dorr told attendees at the CTAM Europe EuroSummit yesterday. Liberty Global will use a set of phrases beginning with the word “Imagine” to convey the capabilities of the service to consumers. Phrases like “Imagine…you never have to miss a goal again” will form the basis of the campaign, which will also include the tagline “Everything you love is on TV”. Liberty Global has developed point-of-sale material for use in its stores in the Netherlands and will also run print and internet campaigns. The company will launch its full marketing campaign in the Netherlands in about a week.

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Liberty Global launches Horizon

Liberty Global has launched its Horizon TV product in the Netherlands, with Switzerland to follow next quarter and Germany and Ireland next year.

The Horizon box, made by Samsung with a user interface provided by NDS, includes 1024MB of RAM, 256MB of Flash memory, six DVB-C tuners and a 500GB hard disk.

The box is based on an Intel PUMA core and includes two WiFi chips – one for LAN connectivity and another provided by Celeno to deliver HD content through the home. The box connects via 802.11-based wireless in 2.4GHz and 5GHz and also includes a MOCA 1.1 capability for in-home coax.

Introducing the product at IBC in Amsterdam, Liberty Global executive vice-president and chief technology officer Balan Nair said that the company was also launching Horizon.tv, a browser-based application that allows users to access content on Horizon on other devices over the web. He also said that Liberty Global would launch a companion box next year for multi-room delivery of the service over WiFi.

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