Stan and CBS Corporation this morning announced a long-term and exclusive licensing agreement that will give Stan the title of “Home of Showtime” in Australia and the rights to host all future SHOWTIME series and hundreds of hours of programming.
The Stan/Showtime agreement kicked off earlier this week with the premiere of Billions in Australia, following its record series debut in the US. In 2017, Stan will also exclusively premiere Twin Peaks.
The announcement was shared with industry media today in Sydney, where Stan CEO Mike Sneesby said the deal was a “long time in the pipeline”, and proof that Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) is alive and well down under.
Sneesby said the new partnership will see Stan become the home of all of Showtime’s content, with the “life of the series coming to Stan exclusively”, extending to include all “existing shows from its premium catalogue”.
There are still some non-exclusive licenses that exist between Showtime and other platforms that will remain unchanged, however these will “convert into exclusive for Stan” as permitted when existing commitments with expire, Sneesby added.
Over the course of the new agreement, hundreds of hours of quality Showtime programming will also become exclusively available on Stan on SVOD, including hits such as House of Lies, The Affair, Penny Dreadful, Ray Donovan, Dexter and Californication.
“Consumers are recognising the differentiated strategy of Stan,” Sneesby added. “While Netflix is focusing on its original content, this ensures a homogenous offering… Stan is offers a locally-focused proposition [with] the best of the best content.”
“Netflix has been a great ally in building this category,” Sneesby said, suggesting its strong brand awareness has helped consumers know and recognise the SVOD network, and in turn helped build Stan’s profile.
“We’ve reached almost 700,000 gross subscribers in the last 12 months, and that’s people in the front door with credit cards down on the table.”
“Our run rates are bigger than we’ve ever seen before… And there’s been one to 1.5 million Australians streaming in the last 12 months,” Sneesby said, adding that the future will involve gaining a “greater market penetration” of Aussie viewers.
As for the seven million-odd households that are yet to take up streaming, according to Sneesby, “that’s where the money is”.
Fairfax Media CEO Greg Hywood was also at the briefing, and made the observation that in the US, “30 per cent of SVOD subscribers have two subscriptions”, and that this trend is hugely critical for the growth of networks like Stan in competition with Netflix.
“We’re doing this deal today because we’re in a situation to do so,” Sneesby said.
“It’s adding momentum to a successful business,” Hywood added.
Asked if the deal has any impact on Fairfax’s financial input into Stan, Hywood said it was “only marginal”. Sneesby also declined to comment on how much the Showtime deal cost to secure. On the length of the partnership, he added he was “not in a position to talk about timeframes”.
“We’ll have more content dropping over the coming months.”
“This deal doesn’t change our business plan,” Sneesby added. “We’re hitting our plan numbers, and if anything that gives us confidence we’re on the right track.”
For CBS Corporation, this marks the second expansive licensing agreement announced for Showtime outside the US in less than a week, and a continuation of a global expansion strategy to distribute the brand and content as a bundled offering to major international platforms.