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Serious questions are being raised about the future for online streaming provider Stan.

Network Ten chief executive Paul Anderson says the merger of Ten parent company CBS and American media player Viacom could further threaten Nine’s online streaming operation which is also fighting to get a slice of the Disney+ action in Australia, Network 10 is owned by CBS.

According to Telsyte’s 2019 Australian Entertainment Subscription Study, Netflix has amassed 4.9 million streaming subscribers in Australia, while Stan, is coming in a poor third with 1.7 million subscribers behind Foxtel who have 2.8 million subcribers.

In June 2017, Foxtel reported having 2.8 million subscribers – down from 2.9 million in June 2016 – partly due to the closure of Pr4sto however they have made up for this by adding Foxtel Now which has 500,000 subscribers and Foxtel’s Kayo, which already has 331,000 paying subscribers.

Telsyte estimates sports SVOD accounted for 4.4 million subscribers in the other SVOD category.

Telsyte estimates the total SVOD market in Australia to have reached 12.3 million, up 29 per cent from a year ago, marking 55 per cent of households who have a service.

In an interview with the Australian Anderson said that Nine’s Stan streaming platform could lose out from content deals if Showtime were bundled in a new CBS/Viacom streaming service and would be particularly vulnerable to rival Disney Plus — the media giant’s proposed new streaming service likely to launch in Australia late next year.

Currently Walt Disney Entertainment Company is recruiting a new team for the Australian market in a move that signals the launch of its highly anticipated Disney + streaming service that could have a “profound” impact on Stan claims analysts.

The $358 billion Disney entertainment group has advertised for 10 roles at its Melbourne office within its direct-to-consumer and international division.

Anderson said the reunion of the major US media players could have implications for the local landscape, especially in terms of streaming offerings.

“I think one of the things that Viacom have said is that streaming is becoming segmented. So, in this market the introduction of Disney Plus at some point is going to have, one would imagine, quite an impact, given the popularity of that content. You know that will have implications for Stan.

“The Showtime content also sits on Stan, we’re yet to see what happens long-term with that content as well,” he said.

Last week CBS and Viacom agreed to merge, a deal the media companies hope will put them on stronger footing to compete with larger rivals in a business increasingly dominated by streaming.

The Sydney Morning Herald that is owned by Nine admits that there has been heightened industry speculation about whether Disney would seek to partner with such as Nine Entertainment Co’s streaming service Stan for an Australian launch of Disney+.

Many are tipping that Foxtel could snare a deal as they did with their recent Netflix deal which has seen archrival Netflix content made available to Foxtel customers. The News Corp owned streaming service has a close relationship with Disney after Rupert Murdoch sold his 20th Century Fox business to Walt Disney Co. for $71.3 billion. Thirty-four years ago, Rupert Murdoch invested in Hollywood with $250 million, buying a stake in the 20th Century Fox film studio — even though he had little interest in making movies.

While Stan has a local content deal with Disney, including movies like The Lion King, Finding Nemo, Marvel films and the Star Wars franchise, that will terminate in September.

In an article today the SMH claims Stan is trying to cut a new content deal with US studio Paramount, whose parent company Viacom is merging with Network Ten-owner CBS however Anderson has all but ruled out a deal with Stan.

The CBS Viacom merger will create a major entertainment player valued at roughly $44bn, combining Viacom properties such as MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and the Paramount film and TV studio with CBS’s broadcast network and Showtime premium network.

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