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Euro 50 > Leaders in broadband and pay-TV


Digital TV Europe November/December 2010


Mike Fries CEO & president, Liberty Global


Neil Gaydon CEO, Pace


Since Neil Gaydon became CEO, Pace has moved from a loss-making business to the world’s largest provider of set-top boxes.


Age 50


Previous positionsWith Pace for 15 years; CEO since 2006.


Mike Fries has been at the forefront of Liberty’s plans to deploy a next-generation residential gateway to enable it to provide whole-home services to its subscribers. This year he has also overseen Liberty’s transfor- mation into a primarily European company.


Age 47


Education MBA, Columbia University; BA, Wesleyan University.


Previous Positions 20 years in the cable business, all with Liberty or predecessor com- panies.


Achievements of the year Two large trans- actions early in the year stand out: the sale of our interest in J:COM to KDDI – the second- largest mobile operator in Japan – and the acquisition of Unitymedia in Germany. Currently over 80% of our revenue is derived from Europe and we see great opportunity to expand that further. We also delivered four straight quarters of improved revenue growth on the back of DOCSIS 3.0, which is now mar- ketable to over 15 million homes.


Surprises of 2010 So much time is spent analysing disruption and opportunity in our business that few things catch us by surprise. Several positive things occurred in the exter- nal environment, however – regulators rein- forced their support of cable as a critical infra- structure provider in Europe; the debt markets recovered providing fuel for consolidation; and the market for online and pay TV content remains as fragmented as ever.


Goals for next year Build on the success of DOCSIS 3.0, which has totally redefined broad- band and put cable back on top. Rollout of our new IP gateway, which will replace our stan- dard digital set-tops and connect TV cus- tomers to the internet and their personal devices. Stay disciplined on the M&A front. Maintain top-line and cash flow momentum from 2009 in western Europe. Continue the process reengineering certain of our markets in Eastern Europe.


Game-changing future development I like my iPad and have started using the new Samsung tablet device as well. There is no question that these devices will have an impact on our industry. Fortunately, we can – and are – incorporating this functionality into our networks and services.


Achievements of the last year This has been a landmark year for Pace, with record results at the half-year and a strong outlook for 2010. Our major achievements have been becoming the global market leader in the set-top box market and the acquisition of the US’s largest residential gateway provider 2Wire – a critical step for us in providing con- verged digital services to the home. We also achieved some important external recogni- tion of our successes. We received a visit from Princess Anne, who presented us with our third consecutive Queen’s Award for International Trade, and David Cameron made his first speech as UK Prime Minister from our HQ in West Yorkshire.


It’s a great oppor-


tunity to extend our brand and customer rela- tionship.


Ambition as a youngster As one of eight kids, I was a fairly strong self-advocate. My family was sure I’d end up being a lawyer. But with a father and several siblings in the enter- tainment industry, I was always intrigued with the media business. Cable combines the best of the sector – technology, content, con- sumers, etc.


Favourite TV show Sportscenteron ESPN.


Life outside work Same as last year – com- peting in triathalons, skiing, surfing, philan- thropic projects and, of course, the rock band. (We haven’t opened for U2 yet, but Shane O’Neill is working on it.)


Visit us at at www.digitaltveurope.net 24


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