Will the real Stan please stand up?

James McGrath
By James McGrath | 5 November 2014
James McGrath

How do you get people to talk about your upcoming streaming video on demand service without really saying too much about it? You call it 'Stan', and talk all about how you came up with the name.

What we actually know about StreamCo's platform as a result of the launch is that it will be called “Stan”, Rebel Wilson will be involved, in the ads and that it has done a deal with Sony.

Very few details about what Stan will offer were given, beyond that one of its key program offerings is going to be Breaking Bad spin off Better Call Saul. 

Even on that CEO Mike Sneesby and content director Nick Forward had little to say.

However it did hint that it had tied up the rights for Transparent, a show available in the US exclusively on Amazon Prime which is garnering pretty solid early reviews.

It didn't offer up any solid details on pricing, no solid details about programming, little detail on bundling, or whether it was looking to tie up a deal with an internet service provider about bandwidth allocation (it is, but it can't say much).

In the absence of any real detail, why hold the event at all? Why not wait until you can offer detail on what you will be offering?

While it couldn't offer too much steak, it was keen to talk about the sizzle.

It's a busy time in the streaming and video on demand space. Foxtel is going big on its new cheaper pricing and its BoxSet channel. In the past few weeks there's been speculation about a Foxtel/Seven tie-up with Presto which could be announced “soon”, and there are hints about Netflix getting into the marketplace as early as February, but nothing is confirmed as yet.

With these bits of news soon to seep into the minds of the masses as the next big things in SVOD, StreamCo had to make a move to get its name in the minds of punters and to get them talking about its offering.

So the launch, itself a hastily put together affair with invites only going out on the afternoon of Melbourne Cup day for a breakfast event the next morning, wasn't about the product, it was about the brand.

It pitched the name “Stan” as a differentiation from other tech-skewing brands.

“We wanted to move away from that technology rhetoric,” Sneesby said. “We didn't want to be a flix or a tube, we wanted to move to a brand name that consumers could associate with... which had a character to it.”

“It is a clean palate we can build our own character around.”

Depite obvious associations with Eminem's 'Stan' a track which is about an obsessive fan who murders his girlfriend and drives off a cliff with her body in the back of his car, Sneesby claimed he was confident that character wouldn't be an issue.

“It's not something that came up in recall when we tested the brand but obviously we are aware of that,” he said.
However, the name does pass the ex-boyfriend test, he claimed. No one thinks of the name Stan and thinks of an arsehole ex-boyfrined. So that's good.

Details on the name and branding strategy combined with the lack of detail on the vital specs means that lo and behold, all we can really do is talk about the name and speculate about the upcoming details, which StreamCo said would be drip-fed over the coming weeks.

The question now is whether the release of the name will give StreamCo an advantage in the minds of the punters.

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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