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Netflix can no longer be viewed as a direct competitor to pay-TV companies, the head of Virgin Media owner Liberty Global believes.

According to Mike Fries, Netflix is now more of a programme provider, along the lines of HBO or Sky Movies, rather than a direct rival like Sky, the Guardian reports.

As a result, the "cool factor" of its technology has gone.

"We are now matching it, meaning they have to invest in content to attract subscribers," Mr Fries commented.

"The problem for Netflix is while it is a home of TV shows and films, it doesn’t have Sky or BBC [channels] which makes [it just] part of the meal."

This, he stated, means it lacks hit shows such as Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey.

Mr Fries said Liberty Global's approach is different, as it is aiming to be "the big plate, if you want to look at it in those terms".

He went on to stress that Liberty Global is not thinking of competing with BT and Sky in order to secure live Premier League TV rights.

"We are not going to bid on the Premier League, in the UK we are generally a taker [of content and channels] and rarely is it the case they aren’t offered."

However, Mr Fries did state that it is starting to see sports, particularly local market sports, as a "real opportunity".

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