Stan to aim high with local content

James McGrath
By James McGrath | 4 December 2014

StreamCo is aiming to lift the game of Australian TV production by commissioning content that can “sit alongside the likes of Better Call Saul and Fargo”.

The $100 million streaming player is still in the process of completing its initial launch library, and speaking with AdNews yesterday, content director Nick Forward said the service was “very close” to being ready.

“We are ingesting content into the service at great speed,” he said. “It’s not quite there but we are getting very, very close.”

He said that Stan was aiming for between 6000 and 10,000 hours of content for the SVOD service, which will be competing in the Australian marketplace with the likes of Fetch, Quickflix, an expanded Presto and US behemoth Netflix.

Among the reams of content available on the service will be content commissioned by Stan.

“If I'm going to be commissioning content for Stan, it will be designed for Stan to be consumed on Stan,” Forward said.

He also said that the content Stan ends up commissioning would be sit “within the tone” of its premium offerings such as Fargo and Better Call Saul.

“The tone of the service is set by the big shows that you buy and the big shows that we've bought so far are the likes of Fargo and Better Call Saul...and that sort of thing. These are the shows that will define the tone for this service,” Forward said.

“Whatever we commission will have to feel natural and sit alongside those shows, and feel part of the same line-up.”

While he refused to put numbers on what proportion of households Stan is aiming to work its way into, he did say it was aiming to be broadly in line to take-up rates experienced in other markets.

“You only need to look at the US which has 40% penetration for SVOD. That's made up of some Netflix and some Hulu and some Amazon, but that's a market that after four or five years is at 40%,” he said.

“You look at the UK and it's somewhere between 15% and 20% after two years, so if the market here if it follows that pattern will be a big opportunity for us and anybody else who's launching a product into the market.”

The uptake could potentially be faster in Australia, as the adoption of SVOD services in the US happened in a time where smartphone and tablet penetration rates were not as high as they currently are in Australia., With more screens, comes more opportunity to consume content.

Forward also said despite the potentially crowded marketplace in Australia, there was room for all SVOD players to carve out their niche.

“The space for a number of people is there. This isn't something where there's one platform that comes in and everyone else falls by the wayside,” he said.

“If you think about the size of the market that exists in the US ... if that's replicated here, that still gives you three or four million customers to play with in four or five years.

“That's more than enough for a number of players to be successful in this market.”

Forward also noted that in spite of the tough talk from Netflix about the death on linear TV services as a result of SVOD services piling into the space, the strength of the free-to-air market in Australia meant Stan was unlikely to impact on parent company Nine and other FTA networks.

“What we will launch will not eat into any time where people are coming home and consuming linear TV between 6 to 9 pm. They'll still come home and watch the news, they'll watch The Voice, MasterChef, My Kitchen Rules ... they'll do all that sort of stuff,” he said.

“VOD tends to peak at 4pm and then it peaks again at 10 o'clock. It kind of fills those gaps [around peak FTA viewing]."

For more news:

The Stig heads to Stan

Better Call Saul pushes Stan launch

What can Australia expect from Netflix?

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at jamesmcgrath@yaffa.com.au

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