Profile: Liberty Global PLC (LBTYA.OQ)
Liberty Global plc (Liberty), incorporated on January 29, 2013, is an international cable company with operations in 14 countries. The Company connects people to the digital world and enables them to discover and experience its endless possibilities. Its products are provided through next-generation networks and technology platforms that connect 27 million customers subscribing to 57 million television, broadband Internet and telephony services. In addition, the Company served five million mobile subscribers and offered WiFi service across six million access points. Its consumer brands include Virgin Media, Ziggo, Unitymedia, Telenet, UPC, VTR, and Liberty Cablevision. Its operations also include Liberty Global Business Services and Liberty Global Ventures.
The Company offers various broadband services over its cable distribution systems, including video, broadband Internet and fixed-line telephony and, in certain of its operations, the Company offers mobile services. The Company also offers triple-play, which includes services, such as digital video, Internet and fixed-line telephony in a subscription. The Company also offers video services through DIRECT TO HOME (DTH) or through multichannel multipoint (microwave) distribution systems (MMDS). Liberty Global’s consumer brands include Virgin Media, Ziggo, Unitymedia, Telenet, UPC Cablecom, UPC, VTR and in Puerto Rico, Liberty. In terms of video subscribers, the Company operates a cable network in each of Austria, Belgium, Chile, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Puerto Rico, Slovakia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Germany and Romania. The Company’s cable operations offer a range of video services, including basic and premium programming, which can be viewed on the television (TV) and in select markets, through Internet connected devices in the home and whenever there is Internet connectivity. Liberty Global also provides service offerings, such as an electronic programming guide, high definition (HD) channels, digital video recorders (DVR) and HD DVR.
The Company’s service offerings also include video-on-demand (VoD) and next generation set-top boxes, such as the multimedia home gateway Horizon TV or the TiVo service offered by Virgin Media in the United Kingdom. Its services, together with DVR and HD DVR functionality, give its customers to control when they watch their programming. Liberty Global also offers pay-per-view programming on channels it distributes and through VoD. The Company also offers select programming in three-dimensional (3D) format to its customers who have three-dimensional capable televisions. The Company’s various operations offer television applications that allow access to programming on various devices, including laptops, smartphones and tablets. The Company offers basic digital television channels in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Romania, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary. The Company also offers expanded channel packages and premium channels and services. The Company also offers a common interface plus (CI+) module to access its encrypted digital services. A CI+ module is a small device (credit card size) that allows customers with a CI+ enabled television set, who subscribe to, or otherwise have access to, its digital video service, to view such services without a set-top box.
The Company also offers up gradation to one of its extended digital tier services and receive various video channels, including the channels in the basic tier service. A limited number of HD channels are included in its basic tiers of service. The Company also allows digital subscribers to subscribe to one or more packages of premium channels, including additional HD channels. In digital tiers of service, the Company allows a subscriber to upgrade the standard digital device to one with DVR or HD DVR capabilities, which may be rented or purchased. The Company provides a VoD enabled set-top box for the customers who subscribe to a digital tier. The Company also offers VoD services, including catch-up television, on a subscription basis or a transaction basis, depending on location and the tier of digital service selected by the subscriber. Liberty Global offers analog services in its broadband markets, except in the United Kingdom and in Puerto Rico. Subscribers to its analog video service receive 21 to 67 channels of video service. In Ireland and Slovakia, the Company offers various video channels through multichannel multipoint (microwave) distribution systems (MMDS).
The Company’s channel offerings include entertainment, sports, movies, documentaries, lifestyles, news, adult, children and ethnic and foreign channels. It also offers various premium channel packages, such as sports, family and international focus, and its VoD service provides various movies and special events. Liberty Global offers digital video services through DTH satellite in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. It offers these services through UPC DTH S.a.r.l (UPC DTH), a subsidiary of UPC Holding, which also provides these services in Romania with FocusSat Romania Srl (FocusSat). The Company offers a basic video tier of services. The Company, through its interactive services, offers Horizon TV, which is a multimedia home gateway, in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, Poland and the Czech Republic. Horizon TV is a media platform, which allows distribution of video, voice and data content in the home and multiple devices. Horizon TV has a user interface that enables customers to view channels, VoD programming and personal media content and to pause, replay and record programming. Horizon TV also integrates access to personal media content, such as photos, music and movies stored in the home network. Horizon TV also allows recording till approximately four programs simultaneously and to connect till over four devices at the same time and view different content.
The Company offers applications for various online services, such as YouTube, Facebook and Picasa. The Horizon family of products also includes an online television application for viewing on a second screen, Horizon Go, which allows video customers to view linear channels. Horizon Go also offers access to VoD and, for Horizon TV customers, the second screen devices also acts as a remote control. The Company, through Horizon Go, allows remotely scheduling the recording of a television program on the Horizon TV box at home through an iPhone operating system (iOS) or Android mobile digital device or an Internet Web browser. The Company offers digital video experiences through the TiVo platform in the United Kingdom. The TiVo boxes provide converged television and broadband Internet capabilities. The Company also offers MyPrime, which is a subscription VoD offering. MyPrime offers customers streaming access to a library of on-demand content. Liberty Global offers various ranges of broadband Internet service in its broadband communications market. Its service includes download speeds ranging from less than one megabit per second (Mbps) to an ultra high-speed Internet service of 500 Mbps in Hungary and Romania. Its Internet service includes e-mail, address book and parental controls. The Company also offers broadband services through its operations, which include security, such as anti-virus and spam protection, and online storage and Web spaces. The Company also offers mobile broadband services.
The Company’s residential subscribers access the Internet through cable modems connected to their Internet capable devices, including personal computers, at various speeds depending on the range of service selected. The Company offers a community wireless fidelity (WiFi) in the home (Community WiFi). The Company offers Community WiFi under the brand Wi-Free in Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Romania, and as WifiSpots in the Netherlands. The Company has approximately 6.1 million access points in its European footprint. The Company offers telephony services through its voice-over-Internet-protocol (VoIP) technology in its broadband communication markets. In the United Kingdom, Chile and Hungary, the Company also provides circuit-switched fixed-line telephony services. The Company allows selecting its fixed-line telephony service in its various tiers and in combination with one or more of its other services. The Company’s fixed-line telephony service includes a fixed-line telephony product for line rental and various calling plans, which consist of unlimited network, national or international calling, off-peak calling and minute packages, including calls to fixed and mobile phones. It also offers value added services, such as a personal call manager, unified messaging and a second or third phone line. The Company also offers a phone application that allows its fixed-line telephony customers with smartphones to use their fixed-line call packages.
Liberty Global offers mobile services, both data and voice, as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Poland, Austria, Chile and Hungary. In the United Kingdom and Germany, it provides mobile telephony as light MVNOs. In these countries, the Company leases the core network, as well as the radio access network from a mobile network operator. The Company offers its mobile services in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Austria, Hungary and Chile. In the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland, the Company offers its mobile services to its customers who subscribe to at least one of its other products, such as video, broadband Internet or fixed-line telephony. The Company’s mobile services include voice, short message service (SMS) and Internet or data access. The Company offers calling service, both within and out of network, with a charge or under a postpaid monthly service plan. The Company’s mobile services are primarily on a postpaid basis with customers subscribing to services for periods ranging from activation for a SIM-only contract to till approximately 24 months. In Belgium, the Company offers postpaid service without a minimum contract term. In the United Kingdom, it also offers a prepaid service, where the customers pay in advance for a pre-determined amount of airtime or data and generally have no minimum contract term.
European Operations Division
The Company’s European Operations Division operates a cable network in the United Kingdom under the Virgin Media brand and cable, and MMDS networks in Ireland under the UPC brand (UPC Ireland). Both Virgin Media’s and UPC Ireland’s video services include a range of digital interactive services, including VoD and a range of premium subscription-based and pay-per-view services. United Kingdom Virgin Media offers triple-play services consisting of video, Internet and fixed-line telephony in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Virgin Media also offers quadruple-play services that include mobile voice and data services as an MVNO through an arrangement with a mobile communications provider. The Company’s Virgin Media also offers an Internet streaming video service, Virgin TV Anywhere, which allows its video customers to stream approximately 117 real-time video channels and watch VoD content in the United Kingdom. Virgin Media also offers the multimedia home gateway TiVo to its digital video customers. The Company offers recording of over three programs simultaneously when watching an existing recording. TiVo customers can also access television channels and manage their TiVo box with a laptop, smartphone or tablet. When in the home, these devices also act as a remote control for TiVo. It also offers a TiVo app for the Netflix video service that allows approximately five individual profiles on a single account.
The Company’s Virgin Media offers its subscribers premium digital channels from Sky plc (Sky) and premium BT Sport channels. Virgin Media subscribers receive these channels through a smart card on Virgin Media’s network as part of Virgin Media’s services or for an incremental subscription fee. The Company also allows Virgin Media subscribers using TiVo to access Internet programming services and a Eurosport application. Virgin Media also offers mobile services and allows its customers accessing a network of public WiFi hotspots, including in the London underground train (Tube) stations. The Company’s UPC Ireland offers its digital subscribers various premium channels, such as sports, movies, adult, ethnic and kids. UPC Ireland’s services include Horizon TV and. It also offers Horizon Go, giving access to linear channels and VoD programming. UPC Ireland provides broadband Internet download speed till approximately 240 Mbps. Liberty Global’s Unitymedia KabelBW offers its subscribers premium video channels from Sky Deutschland. It offers VoD to its digital video service on a pay-per-view basis and includes HD and 3D content. Unitymedia KabelBW also offers Horizon Go, which allows accessing to over 100 linear channels of which 13 channels and VoD programming are accessed remotely. The Company’s operations of the European Operations Division in the Netherlands are conducted by Ziggo under the Ziggo brand. Ziggo’s operations cover regional areas, including Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Maastricht.
The Company's operations attributed to the LiLAC Group are located in Chile and Puerto Rico, where it offers a range of broadband services over its cable distribution systems, mobile services in Chile. The Company's broadband distribution business and mobile services in Chile are conducted through subsidiary, VTR. The Company's broadband telecommunications service in Puerto Rico is conducted through its subsidiary, Liberty Puerto Rico. VTR offers triple-play services consisting of video, broadband Internet and fixed-line telephony services in over 30 communities within Santiago and 40 communities outside Santiago, including Chile’s cities, such as Iquique, Antofagasta, Concepcion, Vina del Mar, Valparaiso and Rancagua, and other cities across Chile. VTR obtains programming from the United States, Europe, Argentina and Mexico. VTR also carries domestic Chilean cable programming, which includes local events, such as football (soccer) matches and regional content. VTR offers a range of digital video services, including basic and premium packages. All digital video services are encrypted and require a set-top box provided by VTR. The premium channels include movies, sports, international and adult channels. VoD services, including catch-up television, are available on a subscription or a transaction basis, depending on location. VoD services include over 3,900 titles of on-demand content, including multi-screen features.
The Company competes with Sky, BT, Digi TV, Deutsche Telekom, M7 Group SA, DirecTV, Dish Network Corporation, TalkTalk Telecom Group plc (TalkTalk), Entel PCS Telecommunications SA, Everything Everywhere Limited, Vodafone Germany, Telefonica Germany Holding AG, Movistar, Claro, Orange Poland and Vectra S.A., Sunrise Communications AG, Telekom Austria, Swisscom, Proximus NV/SA, KPN, Tele2 Netherlands Holding N.V., United Internet AG, France Telecom S.A, Vodafone Ireland and Eircom Limited.
Liberty Global PLC
161 Hammersmith Road
LONDON W6 8BS
Company Web Links
- Liberty Global signs deal to expand cable business in Poland
- UPDATE 2-Liberty Global signs deal to expand cable business in Poland
- Liberty Global unit to buy Multimedia Polska's cable business
- BRIEF-Liberty Global to acquire Multimedia Polska
- BRIEF-Ericsson says enters DVR partnership in Latin America