Stan and CBS Corporation yesterday inked a fresh, exclusive licensing deal with SHOWTIME in a move that appears to prove just how strong the Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) market is in little old Australia.
But it’s not as fierce a competition as we’re often led to believe, and Stan CEO Mike Sneesby told B&T that when it comes to SVOD versus both Free-To-Air (FTA) and other SVOD networks, it’s all relative.
“There’s a lot of complimentary aspects to both SVOD and Free-To-Air, and we’re seeing this in peak viewing times,” he said, noting that these times include the 6-8.30pm slot in FTA and 9-9.30pm onward for SVOD.
“Content that drives people online is completely different. FTA is the domain for news, current affairs, reality, sports and highly localised content.
“SVOD is typically highly serialised dramas that you wouldn’t see on FTA.”
Sneesby told B&T that with each network having its own strong points, eventually it will be about zoning in and capitalising on these assets.
“FTA networks in Australia are fairly local – and over time they’ll begin to adjust their programming to the things they do best,” he said.
“Where there’s competition with SVOD, FTA will focus on areas that work for them, like news, reality shows, sport and localised content.
“On top of that, they’re moving into live streaming linear channels that pop up in typical SVOD spots, with access to FTA content sitting alongside SVOD services with premium content experiences.
“As FTA moves into this space quicker, the complimentary nature is only going to improve.”
And with regards to Netflix, Sneesby reckons Stan wouldn’t be where it is today without it.
“It’s about having a differentiated proposition,” he explained. “Netflix created the model and showed us how it works, but Stan is completely different, a whole other catalogue.
“If you’re differentiated in a space, then the threat or concern of Netflix is not as bad as people think it is. It’s not a winner takes all game.
“We’re actually grateful for our ally in Netflix, and our category is better in Australia with Netflix here than it is without them.”
Sneesby reiterated the notion that its new Showtime partnership is “probably the most significant deal in television on the whole in several years”.
“The reason we can do this deal is because we’ve had a terrific first year; our category is strong; our trajectory is strong. The stakes are going to get bigger and better in the streaming world.
“We’ve hit the target numbers and in some cases we’re ahead of these numbers,” Sneesby said. “But lots of people don’t realise it’s not just about the dollars when it comes to signing a big network or studio.
“The content from Showtime – their premium product, their brand, their reputation – is not something they’re going to hand over to a business they don’t have confidence in.
“We will of course be backing Showtime content and putting Showtime at the front and centre as part of this partnership… [with] outdoor media advertising cranking up as well as cinema and TV.”