Finance Consumer Tough times ahead for Nine’s Stan as video streaming market competition heats up

Tough times ahead for Nine’s Stan as video streaming market competition heats up

Despite tremendous growth, Stan is still running at a loss. Photo: Stan
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Nine Entertainment’s streaming service Stan looks like losing out in the battle for movie content dominance.

The platform recently inked a deal with Paramount Pictures to give it extra content in the struggle for market share with Netflix. That deal would give Stan exclusive rights to some of Paramount’s best known-films, including Mission: Impossible, Transformers, Star Trek and Top Gun.

However, a merger between Paramount Pictures’ parent company Viacom and network giant CBS, which now owns Network Ten, has cast doubt on the value of the Stan-Paramount partnership. 

Victoria University screen media senior lecturer Marc C-Scott told The New Daily “[Stan has] got this long-term deal with Paramount, but what that will really turn out to be, no-one really knows”.

Network Ten has its own video on demand outfit called Ten All Access, based on with CBS’ US streaming service.

Given that, it seems unlikely that CBS will want to give its content to Nine when it is in direct competition with its subsidiary Network Ten.

Stan also faces further difficulty from the impending launch of Disney Plus.

Currently, Stan has streaming rights to Disney’s catalogue of films and television shows but will lose these once the mouse-eared media giant introduces its own competitor platform to the local market in November.

Traditional TV model dead

Growing competition from streaming services has changed the industry to a point where all major broadcasters now need to expand their offering, Dr C-Scott said.

“They can’t just be a television broadcaster any more,” he said.

“That model just doesn’t work. They need to be a TV broadcaster, they need a catch-up service, and they also need to have some sort of video-on-demand model.”

By June 2019, there were more than 12 million video streaming accounts registered to Australian users, representing a 29 per cent increase on the previous year.

Data from tech market research company Telsyte also found 43 per cent of video streaming users have accounts with multiple platforms, and on average are happy to pay up to $30 a month for the services.

Stan posts another annual loss

The 2018-19 financial year saw Stan grow its subscriber base to 1.7 million, making it comfortably the second-largest streaming platform in the country behind Netflix.

The solid subscriber growth, alongside a $2 increase in subscriber fees, lifted the platform’s revenues by 62 per cent.

Nevertheless, Stan still suffered a $21.3 million loss over the year, though Nine expects the business to “move strongly into profitability” in the next 12 months.

The business has failed to turn a full-year profit since launching in January 2015, but managed to deliver in the second half of the 2018-19 financial year.

Despite Stan’s losses, the broader Nine Entertainment group was still able to lift its annual profits 19 per cent to $187.1 million.

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