John Malone Wants Cable Companies to Join Forces Against Netflix

/ Oct 10, 2013

JM

Liberty Media chairman John Malone wants cable companies to band together to reduce Netflix’s tightening stranglehold on streaming TV. According to the cable veteran, Netflix is excelling simply because the streaming service has given itself the opportunity to buy programming on a national level.

Cable companies, on the other hand, can only acquire programming within specific, designated areas. This limitation has given Netflix the upper hand when it comes to offering customers a broad and desired range of content. In order to beat down the rising Netflix threat, according to Malone — who spoke at Liberty Media’s annual investor conference — cable companies have to join forces and either develop or stand behind a platform that can also purchase programming nationally.

While several MSOs have taken a shot at developing off-cable platforms, Malone explained that the results were uneven and ultimately not enough to dethrone Netflix. Citing Comcast’s web platform Xfinity, Malone explained that he could see additional MSOs rallying behind the service and its box-top device X2.

Many have shied away from the idea of merging behind one national service simply because larger providers would dwarf micro cable companies in terms of technology and resources However, according to Malone, this level of collaboration could help provide those smaller companies with a more well-defined infrastructure.

For his part, Malone’s company Liberty Media recently acquired 27% stake in cable company Charter Communications, which recently expressed interest in merging with Time Warner Cable. However, Time Warner has since turned down any offers made by Charter.

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