The Nine Entertainment Co and Fairfax Media joint venture StreamCo has revealed the name of its yet to be launched video-on-demand offering, Stan.
At a media briefing in Sydney, Mike Sneesby, chief executive officer of StreamCo shared what he believes will come to be known as “The biggest deal in entertainment.”
The name comes from the insight consumers want a simple service. Sneesby said given it is uncommon in Australian vernacular “it passes the ex boyfriend test” meaning there should be few negatives associated with the name before it goes to market. He said: “We tested a lot of different names. We didn’t want to be a ‘view ‘or a ‘flix’ or a ‘tube’. We wanted to move our name away from that technology rhetoric.”
While Sneesby was unwilling to reveal the launch date, the acquisition and promise to fast track Breaking Bad spin off Better Call Saul, which airs on American channel AMC in February, suggests an early 2015 start date.
Regarding the launch, Sneesby said: “Two of the things that our competitors are probably just as interested to know as yourselves would be exactly when we are launching and exactly what is our price going to be. So those are two things we’re going to keep under wraps for now.”
StreamCo has publicly said the price point will be around the $10/month mark which Sneesby reiterated while remaining unwilling to give an exact figure.
Very little was said about the content that will be available on the platform beyond the exclusive VOD rights for Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul although, Aussie actress Rebel Wilson – the face of the brand – was a little more loose-lipped suggesting Amazon original series Transparent will feature. The show which has been produced by Amazon for its Amazon Prime offering has been called the best TV show not on TV this season by US critics. Acquisition of the format would suggest Amazon has no impending plans to enter the local market any time soon. Sneesby added that deals had been done with US and UK content makers including Sony Pictures with more to be revealed in the lead up to launch.
Wilson is in Australia to film a series of six commercials for Stan directed by Owen Trevor. In the ads, the comedienne is egged on by a big American director to give the streaming service the hard sell, although she says she doesn’t really need to try. Filming for the commercials will wrap today and Wilson said: “Tonight, they may be setting my head on fire.”
Stan is funded by a $100 million cash injection from Nine and Fairfax which does not include “free media” from either of the media companies. Sneesby said: “Stan will buy media. Clearly we’ll buy media from Nine and Fairfax, and you would expect that we will get favourable rates on that media. But ultimately we will be responsible for acquiring media in the market place and then working closely with Fairfax and Nine on the value added opportunities that we can add to that. But there isn’t an allocation of ‘free media’, if you like, being made to the business.”
Sneesby suggested Stan will utilise Fairfax and Nine’s full compliment of media assets including print, online, radio and television. As well, consumers can expect subscription offers that bundle the streaming service with other content such as digital and print news subscriptions.
StreamCo is in talks with internet service providers to shore up streaming deals but nothing has been locked in yet.
When asked about the impending launch of Netflix, a rumour which gained further strength yesterday when it was reported Droga5 had been appointed by the company to spearhead its local marketing efforts, Sneesby said: “We haven’t gone out with an ambition to beat Netflix to the market. We are brining a product to market based on our readiness to launch as quickly as we can deliver it to Australian consumers and at the right time to fit with the content acquisitions that we have. Netflix will clearly launch. There’s a lot of speculation around what that date looks like.”