Vodafone has said that talks with Liberty Global about a possible asset swap have been terminated.In a statement issued today, Vodafone confirmed that the early-stage discussions – regarding a possible exchange of “selected assets” – will not go any further.The news comes after Liberty Global chairman, John Malone, signalled earlier this month that the two companies had not been able to come up with a combination or asset swap that would work for both partners.In an interview with Bloomberg, Malone said that while “there’s a price at which Liberty could be bought”, a full merger or acquisition was unlikely.Vodafone confirmed it was in early discussions with Liberty back in June, but said at the time: “There is no certainty that any transaction will be agreed, nor is there certainty with respect to which assets will ultimately be involved.”Talk of a possible deal between the companies had previously focused on Germany, where both have cable assets – but where a combination could be opposed by Deutsche Telekom on competition grounds. Other territories where the pair could have combined forces included the UK, where Liberty Global owns cable operator Virgin Media and Vodafone is major mobile player.In May, Malone commented that a combination of Vodafone and Liberty Global would be a “great fit” for the latter. He said that an agreement to work together or a combination of the two companies could deliver “very substantial synergies” and cited the benefits of a merger in markets including Germany, the UK and the Netherlands.Liberty and Vodafone have combined annual revenues of over US$80 billion (€70 billion) and a combined market value of US$130 billion.
New on-demand film site Flix Premiere has gone live in the US, a week after it rolled out in the UK.The service, which bills itself as an “online Cineplex”, offers new films that will premiere on the platform. Users can buy ‘tickets’ for £3.99 in the UK or US$4.99 in the US to watch each film.The US launch marks Flix Premiere’s second market, and forms part of a seven-country global launch plan for the next year.Flix Premiere’s catalogue of films changes every ten to twelve days and all films stay exclusive to the site for twelve months.“Our curation team is scouting film festivals around the world to bring the best movies into the Flix Premiere Online Cinema,” said Flix Premiere founder and CEO Martin Warner.“Launching in the world’s largest movie market, the US, is take two of our global mission to bring the magic of theatrical releases to mobile screens. Every week US consumers spend 5.6 hours of watching movies, TV shows and videos online, according to Forrester’s Consumer Technographics study. That’s about 292 hours of streaming media consumption per year per person, with a preference for exclusive content.Flix Premiere is currently available via web browsers and as an iOS app and Android app across a full range of mobile devices, with streaming media device and games console support to follow later this year.
Swisscom saw its TV base edge up by 3.5% to 1.47 million in the year to March, helped by the success of bundled offering inOne, in the face of what the operator described as “stiff competition from cable networks”. However, the company’s overall TV subscriber base was more or less flat quarter-on-quarter.Swisscom added net 49,000 TV customers last year. The company launched a new operating system and user interface last November.The small increase in TV subscribers year-on-year represents a lower gain than the 76,000 additions recorded in the year to the end of September, when Swisscom had already admitted it was facing “a noticeable trend towards market saturation”. However, the net gain in subscribers between September and the end of year was only about 2,000.On a more positive note, Swisscom said that its bundled inOne offerings had attracted 1.3 million customers by the end of last year, with the number of customers using a bundled offering up 235,000, or 14.1%, to 1.91 million by the end of the fourth quarter.Revenue from bundled contracts rose by CHF335 million (€257 million) year-on-year to CHF2.837 billion.Swisscom posted overall revenues of CHF11.662 billion for the year, up 0.2%. Core business revenue dipped by 2.1% to CHF9.058 billion due to falling fixed-line phone and roaming revenues.EBITDA was flat at CHF4.295 billion. While net income was down 2.2% to CHF1.568 billion.“Despite fierce competition, we managed to assert ourselves well on the market and we achieved the targets set. The inOne bundled offerings were a particular hit with our customers; we’ve never had such a successful product,” said CEO Urs Schaeppi.