Local streaming service Stan is gaining ground on US giant Netflix with a landmark deal to gain exclusive rights to CBS’ premium Showtime television series.
Showtime is responsible for hit shows like The Affair, Californication, Ray Donovan and, perhaps most exciting, the upcoming Twin Peaks remake.
The deal comes as the Australian subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service winds up its first year of operation: a year that saw the company offer customers critically-acclaimed, award-winning TV series Better Call Saul and Transparent; as well as produce its own original content – irreverent comedy No Activity and the upcoming Wolf Creek series.
Speaking with Stan CEO Mike Sneesby, it’s obvious the man leading the company is excited about the road that lies ahead.
“The stakes are very high and there are a number of aspects to striking a deal like this,” Mr Sneesby told The New Daily.
“It’s more than just a content deal – it’s part of a strategy about looking at the Australian market from an international perspective.”
Netflix on the wane?
Mr Sneesby is realistic when it comes to standing out in a market already crowded by giants.
“The real players in the market these days are Netflix, Hulu and Amazon,” he admitted.
However, Stan’s announcement comes as good news for many Australians looking to salvage their TV viewing habits in the wake of Netflix US’ recent crackdown on VPN users dodging geo-restrictions to access the service.
For those missing the Netflix US library of some 7000-plus titles, a local alternative with new US content may be a very appealing alternative.
A winning deal
Editor of Australian entertainment website tvtonight.com.au and media commentator David Knox believes Stan has struck a winning deal.
“I can see the logic because Showtime and HBO have the lion’s share of premium titles coming out of the States,” said Mr Knox.
“Showtime make a lot of strong content; a lot of titles that Australians have come to know and a lot of titles that lend themselves to binge watching.”
In the past five years, Showtime has been responsible for some of the highest-rating TV shows to go to air: programs such as Ray Donovan, House of Lies, Dexter, Californication and The Affair, to name a few.
Regardless of the service, Mr Knox believes the viewer is the ultimate winner: “With the arrival of streaming and how that’s shaken up networks, what we’re seeing is a power shift. It’s now about viewers watching what they want, when they want.”
See the trailer for The Affair below:
New binge-worthy series
One of the latest programs to find a home on Stan is Showtime’s newest drama, Billions.
Starring Paul Giamatti (Saving Mr Banks) as dedicated U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades and Damian Lewis (Homeland) as dubious billionaire hedge funder Bobby Alexrod, this Wall Street drama is a sprawling modern soap of corruption, sex, betrayal and greed.
By and far the most highly-anticipated series that forms part of this new deal is the series return of the ground-breaking cult classic Twin Peaks.
Created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, the show took an unaware audience by surprise, earned top ratings in its timeslot – dethroning long-time favourite Cheers – and helped coin the phrase ‘water cooler syndrome’, after fans would gather at work the next day to dissect the previous night’s episode.
The new series is once again helmed by Lynch and features original stars Kyle MacLachlan, reprising his role as Special Agent Dale Cooper, and Sheryl Lee – Laura Palmer herself.
The deal also includes access to CBS series Madam Secretary, Limitless, Elementary, Scorpion, Under the Dome, Extant, Beauty and the Beast and Reign, along with … sci-fi fans should take a seat … every episode of every Star Trek television series.
See the teaser trailer for Twin Peaks below:
Get on board
If you’d like to see what all the fuss is about, new customers can try Stan’s 30-day free trial. An ongoing subscription fee of $10 per month begins after your trial expires.
Users will need internet access and a suitable device to stream content: such as a compatible smartphone, tablet PC, home PC, laptop computer, smart TV, digital media player or gaming console.
See the trailer for Billions below (warning: offensive language):