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Stan Lose Disney As Nine Entertainment Shares Slide

Online streaming service Stan will lose their Disney content and could soon be facing a battle to retain other content deals claim sources.

ChannelNews has been able to confirm that Stan, who refuse to disclose their paying subscribers will lose their Disney deal in October with Disney set to enter the Australian market in November.

Stan chief executive Mike Sneesby is still trying to hold onto the notion that he is in discussions with Stan. Disney sources have told ChannelNews that Stan has “categorically lost the Disney franchise”

Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Australia Summit Mr Sneesby told attendees that he was currently “talking with all the major studios” about future partnerships.

He claimed that he has left the door open for a long-term deal with US entertainment giant Disney and said streaming platforms could make a play for sports rights in Australia in the next five years.

Nine Entertainment publications the SMH, The Age and the Financial Review the same organisation that owns Stan has known of this decision for several weeks but have failed to report it as they concentrate on trying to discredit archrival Foxtel which is owned by News Corporation and Telstra who yesterday said that the carrier is fully committed to Foxtel.

During the past five trading days Nine Entertainment share have fallen from $2.10 to $1.94 with the Company refusing to say how many paying subscribers they have following the launch of Kayo in November.

The service which delivers sports content for $25 a month, has already captured 209,000 paying subscribers with the service growing daily due to the Cricket World Cup and the AFL and NRL season now being in full swing.

Telstra who own 35 per cent of Foxtel after previously owning 50% with News Corporation owning the other half has been giving away Foxtel subscriptions on their own TV service.

ChannelNews understands that these customers and not the regular long-term Foxtel subscribers have been responsible for the recent churn which Nine Entertainment have been attempting to highlight. They have not reported what the churn rate is of Stan or whether Stan has a higher churn rate than Foxtel.

Andy Penn the CEO of Telstra said yesterday “The whole rationale for doing the restructure was we could see that the media industry was going to go through this period of very substantial change and that bringing Fox Sports and Foxtel together would be beneficial to help Foxtel navigate that period, and to achieve that we needed to dilute down to 35 percent, we were happy to do that,” Mr Penn told the Financial Review at the Morgan Stanley Australia summit.

Mr Penn said Telstra did not want to sell down to nothing but was willing to dilute to help the business list and provide liquidity.

“I think the rationale for wanting to IPO Foxtel, ultimately, is no different today than it was a couple of years ago,” Mr Penn said.

Mr Penn said the relationship with News Corp over Foxtel was good. When asked why Telstra didn’t take part in a $300 million shareholder loan News Corp gave Foxtel to cover a loan maturing in April, as the pay TV provider attempts a $2.5 billion refinance, Mr Penn said: “News are running the financial restructuring process and we’ve restructured our investment.”

ChannelNews understands that Telstra did contribute when Telstra debt was turned into a contribution.

Foxtel remains an important asset to Telstra, Mr Penn told the Financial Review.

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