Stan denies Aussie push anything to do with Netflix

James McGrath
By James McGrath | 27 January 2015

Subscription video on demand platform Stan has positioned itself as the Aussie streaming service, but denied that has anything to do with the foreign raider at the gates.

The platform launched on Australia Day, with an announcement going out last week dubbing Stan “Australia's Streaming Service”, which some observers read the positioning as a none-too-subtle broadside at US behemoth Netflix, which is rumoured to be launching on 31 March.

However, speaking with AdNews this morning StreamCo CEO Mike Sneesby insisted that wasn't the intention.

“I hope people don't draw that, because it's not about that,” Sneesby said.

“I can honestly say here at Stan we're all Aussies, and we're focused on building a service that Australians can be proud of. If the Australian public want to give us the title of 'Australia's Streaming Service', then that will be great, but it's not what we're focused on.”

Meanwhile, he said while StreamCo would not release numbers into the marketplace, that the number of subscribers picking up free trials on Australia Day “exceeded the numbers we had planned”.

He also declined to say which platforms trialists were viewing the service on, but said while all platforms were being utilised, that the number of people streaming through browsers was “surprising”.

“We can't yet release a platform split but it has been surprising how many people have been streaming through browsers, and then streaming that to a TV set,” Sneesby said.

“It's been the habit of those early adopters to do that, but we've seen take up on all platforms.”

He also said the platform had experienced “minor” teething problems, but he was pleased with the response of the troubleshooting team at Stan in dealing with issues individual users were having.

But the weather in the populated Sydney market was nearly perfect for a streaming service, with wind and rain forcing people indoors on a day which is traditionally spent enjoying the great outdoors.

“The perfect day would have been for the rain in the morning and then for a bit of sunshine in the afternoon so the cricket can run through,” he said.

“Obviously we're doing a lot around that [cricket], so it would have been good if that ran through."

Meanwhile Stan will be “announcing something” on local commissioned content within the next month.

“Within the next four weeks, we'll have some stuff to say around local commissioned content,” Sneesby said.

So far Seven West and Foxtel joint venture Presto has been quiet on commissioning local content, and while US behemoth Netflix has been in the habit of commissioning local content in markets where it launches, it has not yet revealed its plans for Australian content.

It is believed Stan is leveraging its access to producers at Nine as part of its local content plans, with Les Sampson and Alison Hurbert-Burns heading up Stan's acquisition strategy. Both jumped across to StreamCo from Nine ahead of the launch.

Content director Nick Forward has previously told AdNews that the Australian original content would sit alongside its premium offerings such as Better Call Saul or Fargo in terms of quality.

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

“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.”

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

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