COMMENT:Does Nine Entertainment’s Stan Have A Future Some Doubt It
Serious questions have to be asked as to whether Stan the Nine Entertainment streaming service actually has a future in its current format?
Some observers doubt it.
The content market is brutal, new entrants coupled with the battle for access to content which is getting harder due to production restrictions due to COVID-19 is set to impact local players.
During the last 12 months Stan has had to content with the entry of Disney into the market with their Disney+ operation this resulted in them losing the Disney content, then they lost out to Foxtel in the battle for the premium HBO And Warner content.
Now they are facing the loss of their Showtime TV programs with CBS Viacom the owners of the 10 network set to launch a local service next year though there is no certainty that this service will be a success as they are going to have to compete up against Netflix, Foxtel, Binge, a surging Amazon Prime, and Disney+ as well as a weakened Stan.
Stan’s current Showtime deal expires in December 2020 and there is nothing much in the form of new content on the horizon for them to go after.
Losing Showtime also means that they lose CBS, Paramount, and Viacom content at a time when the likes of Amazon Prime are growing subscribers.
CBS took ownership of Ten in November 2017, and just over a year later launched a subscriber streaming service called 10 All Access in Australia.
The NewsCorp owned Australian newspaper claims it has largely been overshadowed by US streaming giant Netflix.
News Corp who own Foxtel, Kayo and Binge are seeing subscription numbers come back following the return of sport to Foxtel and Kayo and while they have added content arch rival Stan is looking to lose over 500 hours of content and this is a big hit especially as they lost Friends when News Corp scored the HBO Warner deal.
Gone will be shows such as Californication, Happyish, Nurse Jackie and Dexter.
The big question is whether Nine who are currently cutting costs across their Entertainment and Media assets will continue with weak content offerings in the future.
Mike Sneesby CEO of Stan is now under pressure to secure fresh content in a market that is devoid of content. If he does manage to find replacements, it’s set to be “Very expensive” according to one competitor.
Nine chief executive Hugh Marks has repeatedly said the TV and publishing group will increasingly turn itself into a subscription revenue model through Stan to reduce its reliance on advertising revenue.
The only problem is that Nine cannot charge for sport similar to Foxtel due to Australian Federal Government regulations governing free to air TV coverage.
With ad spending down more than 40 per cent across the media industry in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, Nine has cut its newspaper operations by suspending a string of newspaper sections and magazines, including Domain and BOSS. It has also forced staff to take leave and suspended bonuses.
Last week Nine Media technology writers were trying to say that ‘Foxtel did not have 4K’ and that 4K was relevant however new research shows that only 2.5% of Netflix streaming is 4K.
The issue now is where is the future for Stan?