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Nine’s Stan Under Threat, $10 Binge Set To Hurt After Content Loss

The Nine Entertainment Stan streaming service is facing new problems with the official launch of the Foxtel owned Binge, which is only $10, the same price as Stan which does not have sought after content from HBO or WarnerMedia.

Earlier this year Nine Entertainment were desperately hoping that they could secure content from WarnerMedia and HBO to shore up their service which lost Disney content late last year.

Instead the Hollywood studio’s that make hits such as the Game of Thrones, Succession and The Sopranos and Big Little Lies, chose the News Corp controlled Binge streaming service over the Nine Entertainment Stan.

Nine Entertainment is under pressure and the launch of Binge comes at a poor time for the Australian content network.

Their April free-to-air television revenue was down 29.8% compared to the same month last year, the media company told a Macquarie Bank conference.

Nine had estimated savings of $130 million if the NRL season remained closed but that number will be significantly lower if a limited season goes ahead as planned.

The Company also said recently that May television ad revenue is looking like being even lower than April.

Nine, like the rest of the media industry, is seeing rapid change in the advertising market from the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis, this coupled with the loss of key Stan content running into the peak winter period in Australia is not looking good for the network according to analysts.

The new Binge content will be available on iOS and Android phones, tablets, and televisions, and will also soon be available on Samsung televisions with several other TV brands also talking to Foxtel about the Binge service.

Nine Entertainment who are currently cutting costs across their network is also facing future content problems with CBS Viacom set to launch content that is currently on Stan on a new Ten Network linked service in the first quarter of 2021.

The launch of Stan comes at a crucial time for Foxtel who have undergone a major restructuring to cut costs because of COVID-19 and the loss of the sport.

Next week NRL returns to Foxtel followed by NRL this is tipped to drive the reengagement of subscribers to the News Corp Kayo while also delivering for the 2M+ Foxtel subscribers live sports broadcasts.

Binge will go live on Monday morning and is offering “10,000 hours” of the best entertainment from Australia and around the world. In a live broadcast to media on Friday management said that Binge has been 24 months in the making and marks another big bet for Foxtel who are tipped to strip more content from the Nine Entertainment owned Stan.

Shows such as Succession, WestWorld and Big Little Lies are set to draw in a younger audience than those who subscribes to the mainstream Foxtel service which is part owned by Telstra, the combination of Kayo and Binge is set to deliver ongoing click revenue to News Corp who are in a strong position in the Australian streaming market much to the angst of Nine Entertainment and Nine Media who have been running a highly critical media campaign against Foxtel.

In recent months the Nine Media operation which is a sister operation to Nine Entertainment the operators of Stan have done out of their way to try and discredit the launch of Binge in the hope of influencing the Hollywood studio’s this failed with the real possibility that 2021 could be a horror year for Stan with the loss of further content from ShowTime.

Analysts believe this will make Stan vulnerable as like Binge they also face new pressure from Disney+ who is set to launch new shows next year as well as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple+ in addition to a new service from CBS Viacom.

The WarnerMedia deal also includes Seinfeld and the most popular (and expensive) sitcom of all time, Friends — which will be available on Binge later this year.

Other global content available on Binge include NBCU, FX, BBC, and Sony, which includes shows like The Americans and The Office.

Binge CEO Julian Ogrin said that that despite entering a competitive market he was confident of the success of the platform due to the quality and exclusivity of its content.

“It starts with our content. We have a collection of the world’s leading studio brands and catalogues all coming in together. And that just gives us the depth and breadth of all the categories from premium drama, comedy, drama through to some of the greatest movie blockbusters aggregated together.

He added In addition to that is the strength of our documentaries, reality and lifestyle collection that goes in, in one place.”

Users can sign up to Binge.com.au from Monday for a free two-week trial. It will enter the market at $10 a month for standard definition going up to $14 a month for a HD package with two devices, and an $18 HD package with four devices.

The price point is the same as Stan, owned by Nine Entertainment, which has been the long-time second in the Australian market behind the global powerhouse of Netflix.

Binge CEO Julian Ogrin claims the proliferation of entertainment streaming services in Australia is a sign of a sophisticated market that will enable Binge’s quality to stand out rather than overwhelm viewers.

“Right now, there are over four million entertainment streamers (subscribers) in Australia. In three years, that’s forecast to double, up to 85 per cent penetration.”

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