Meet Stan: Australia's Most Ambitious Streaming Service Yet

What would it take to get you to stop downloading shows via BitTorrent or accessing Netflix via a VPN? How about a streaming service that costs less than $10 per month with access to new US shows as they become available across smartphone, tablet and TV-based streaming products? Meet Stan: the new streaming service for Australia, born out of StreamCo.

For those not familiar with StreamCo, it's the joint venture between Nine Entertainment Co and Fairfax Media. In the interest of disclosure, Fairfax owns Allure Media, which publishes Gizmodo Australia.

The StreamCo partnership was created with a single aim: launch a streaming product that Australians will actually use.

StreamCo figured out that the reason people weren't using Australian streaming services like Quickflix or Presto is because the product was either too expensive or didn't have the content available that customers wanted.

Indeed in its own research, it found that half of pirates it surveyed would pay for the content they were downloading if it were available on a cheap and convenient platform.

With all this research and an industry-leading Mr Fix It in new CEO, Mike Sneesby (formerly of Cudo), StreamCo was able to create a streaming product called Stan.

Speaking with us exclusively this morning, Mike Sneesby said that Stan would not only carry the content Australians were desperate to watch, but also content that nobody else could carry in the local market.

Stan will exclusively carry the back catalogue of Breaking Bad in Australia when the service launches early next year, and it will also hold exclusive rights to the hotly-anticipated spin-off, Better Call Saul.

"Nobody else will have that," he told us this morning. "Not Foxtel, not Netflix, not broadcast," he added. "We make a deal that sees us put it onto Nine, but only if we say so."

Sneesby added that the Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul deal is part of a larger Sony Pictures deal that will see new film and TV franchise exclusives coming to Stan every week leading up to the launch. The newly-minted streaming service will also have exclusives from other big international studios too, and while the CEO won't be drawn on what those titles are just yet, he did reveal how they chose the targets.

"If it's big on BitTorrent, if it's big on Netflix, we wanted it for StreamCo in Australia," Sneesby told us this morning. Those are the two big competitors for Stan in the local market, as Netflix gears up to launch the Australian version of its popular streaming service in the next few months.

Update: CEO of Stan, Mike Sneesby, has told us that the service will support 1080p HD streaming.

Stan will likely cost less than $10 per month in the Australian market, and will be sold without a contract and without ads. If you're a Stan customer, you'll get unlimited, ad-free access for about as much as you're paying for a grey-market Netflix product right now.

The CEO added that he's not concerned about so-called competition from the likes of Quickflix or Foxtel's Presto, saying that those aren't true streaming-video-on-demand services.

Right now there are around 200,000 people in Australia using Netflix before its official Australian launch, and probably even more getting access to content via BitTorrent. Sneesby said that he'll be working on a massive marketing and education campaign in the next few months to fire Australians up about their new streaming service.

The Stan sign-up page went live today, and over the next few months you can expect to see TV and outdoor campaigns starring Rebel Wilson which will form part of that marketing and education campaign.

As far as platforms are concerned, Sneesby told us that Stan will be available on Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, as well as on Chromecast. An Apple TV app is on the way, but until then it'll be the only streaming video service compatible with Apple AirPlay.

Would you use Stan? Yes? No? Tell us in the comments!

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Comments

    Sounds like we're going to get a heap of show fragmentation across different streaming services.

      Exactly, we're still going to be faced with content being locked up exclusively to one particular provider. While it should go some way to reducing unauthorised downloading, streaming can never offer the ultimate convenience of being available on any device, anywhere and at any time.

      Yup... competition for Netflix, but which shows will be only accessible by which platform..?

      Yep, doesn't sound like, for example, Netflix in AU will carry Breaking Bad or its spinoff. And, for another example, doesn't Foxtel still have exclusive AU rights to GoT and all HBO programs?

      Although it sounds like a decent enough service, I'd be very surprised if it carries all "the content Australians were desperate to watch."

      @velt, whilst competition isn't perfect, it's a heck of a lot better than monopolisation. Things like Stan and even that stupid 1BitWally website provide safety in our future through supplying a viable alternative. As we aggregate we get convenience sure, but we also potentially get less options, house of cards anyone?!

      That's the thing, what do we want? One streaming service that has a monopoly and all of the content available in one place, or competition that might mean show fragmentation?

    Well if they've been actually listening to what people have been saying in this site's comments for years, then we may have something not half bad. Just hope they've got the back catalogue as well.

    Another reason for fruadband to kill off the NBN and protect Foxtel.

    Last edited 05/11/14 10:16 am

    What the fuck?? Didn't see that coming...

    Giz - can we get a link or more detailed programming into? Gotta be a catch somewhere, I note the lack of any mention of HD

      I'm with batman - make sure we have the option to stream up to 1080p.

        Hey folks. We took your question to Mike Sneesby and he confirmed that the service will support 1080p. Huzzah!

      or TV shows only and no movies.... EDIT: it's TV and movies

      Already the lack of a PC/browser stream is annoying. I have a chormecast so I'll get over it but not being able to use my HTPC for it would suck.

      Last edited 05/11/14 11:47 am

        Yeah, I pretty much do all my viewing on my PC - either in my ultra-comfy PC chair, or on the couch with the TV hooked up via HDMI to the PC.

        The mechanics seem a little fiddly.

    If it is what this article say it will be then yes, I will definitely subscribe.

    Hmmm, interesting. I was planning on picking up Netflix but this might be worth it. NBN has passed my place a few months ago, just waiting on the splice.

      I'd still pick up Netflix in the interim if you're interested. Getflix is cheap per month and it'll end up costing about $10 a month. This way you'll have Netflix until this comes out, and be able to gauge whether it'll be better for you to keep Netflix or move to Stan.

        Netflix and Hulu

        I like the yank ads, it's nice having a 45 second break and Hulu has the most up to date stuff and us usually ahead of FTA by a week or two, ie blacklist, gotham, Manhattan etc

        Yeah, this local one will really have to convince me. Just hoping I get connected before Christmas. Copper speeds here suck.

        Nah man, the Hola extension for Chrome and Firefox does what Getflix does for free.

          I don't use Netflix predominantly on my computer so the Hola extension, while a good free alternative is unsuitable for my requirements.

          Does the Hola extension also work with StarSports?

    i"ll give the free access trial a go, I'll go up to $18 a month for the service.

    It's good to have more than one streaming service potentially start here, it might make Netflix a little cheaper and it have more content if and when it arrives in Aus.

      A little less Netflix content, by the sounds of it, if it's all locked up in Stan-exclusives.

      Actually you don't need Netflix prices to go down, its cheap as it is.

      What you need is one provider with all content. Either Stan or Netflix. BTW I will miss Neflix original programming if I only get Stan. Marco Polo, House of cards are Netflix programmes which will not be in Stan.

    i don't like the idea of exclusives.. being forced to buy into a service because they have the rights and block all other parties. i want options man

      "We've noticed that knife-fighting is a real problem. We're going to solve that problem by bringing the BIGGEST FUCKING KNIFE TO THE TABLE. FUCKYEAH."
      The cycle continues.

    Huh. Sounds unusualy competitive.

      Very UnAustralian

    I'm happy to pay but doubt I'll sign up to any streaming service due to the state of my internet connection. I can barely get 1.5mb where I live (approx 11km from Perth).

    I won't be using them, at least not straight away. (see below)
    They need to get on Windows (PC/Tab/Phone), Xbox, PS4 etc. as well so that everyone can use the service if they want to make it a success.

    As soon as I saw "Nine Entertainment Co and Fairfax Media" I thought this would be a waste of time..! Hope they prove me wrong..! :)

    Last edited 05/11/14 10:42 am

    Even a cheapskate like me would sign up in a heartbeat if it weren't for the exclusivity deals... that's the only thing putting me off thus far.

    Will give the trial a go when its available to see what it's like. Though I gave Netflix the flick when it was using way too much of the 100GB monthly plan.

    Looks promising. But with my shit 3 - 4 Mbps internet connection I doubt i'd be able to steam HD content.

      That raises a broader problem. Australia in general still had crap download quotas on our internet plans. Until those download quotas become more generous for the price (or removed altogether), or these streaming services strike up deals with various ISP's to make them unmetered, they are going to have limited takeup in this country,

        I have unlimited through TPG so I'm lucky in that sense. But your point is still valid. Some people may have enough speed, but not a large enough download quota to make this viable. Until this underlying problem is resolved we are still going to see people resorting to piracy. Apparently the area of Australia I live in has been label a low priority so I won't be seeing the NBN in any iteration for a number of years to come.

          I'm always wary of "unlimited" plans. They almost always come with some kind of acceptable use clause or something similar. Download a couple of terabytes of data for example and I guarantee you the ISP wouldn't be too happy about it.

            The problem with TPGs unlimited plan is I cant check (ISP side) how much im downloading.

              TPG is definitely 100% unlimited.

              I check through my router how much I am using. The most I have used is about 900Gb and I have never been contacted by TPG for any reason. I used to go through 500+ every month, but about a year ago I had a rethink of how I consume content and the HTPC (and all attached hard drives) had to be shut down to cut my electricity bill in half.

              Now I do less than 100Gb typically.

        It will certainly be interesting to see if these streaming services do start winding up as unmetered (e.g. if they start offering deployment of caching systems directly to the ISPs and the ISPs pass the benefits on to consumers).
        It might be an interesting new way for ISPs two compete: to have bundles with a particular service (or services) and have them unmetered.

        This is a valid point and so true. No use having this potentially great product for good price when Internet plans have download quotas that are pathetic it will be a costly service to access than. They need work out something as you say as that would stop me joining

    I cut the cable in 2010 and since then I haven't found anyone to give my money to - until now. I'd go with this, initially for no other reason than to support the business model. If the content and quality (resolution) is good then I'd have no reason to leave. Unless of course iiNet came up with a similar deal that included unmetered bandwidth. Now we're getting somewhere.

    I don't give a crap about dramas but if they can give me the latest films within two weeks of them hitting cinemas, then I will stop using popcorn time and pirate bay. I never ever go to the cinemas (hate them with a vengeance ) and I don't see why I should have to wait 4 months before I can see the movie. Fix that and you will fix the pirating problem.

    Last edited 05/11/14 11:12 am

      Your entitlement knows no bounds.

        Cinemas will go the way of drive inns eventually. Now that everyone has large screen TVs there's hardly any need to go to a cinema. They're trying to protect the industry but inevitably they will become redundant. If movies were released straight to market, cinemas would close over night.

        Last edited 05/11/14 4:59 pm

          On last night's ABC news they reported an Australian movie coming out soon is doing just that - skipping the cinema and going straight to a pay per download release.

          A couple of years ago Mel Gibson's Get The Gringo also went straight to digital download.

      I gladly wait for 1080p copies to come out as opposed to shitty recordings from iPhones. It's not just Australians that have to wait for consumer releases.

      Just pretend the movie came out 4 months later. Does the time really matter?

    i've been on NBN for about 6 months now, trust me guys, its worth the wait. i have a 1000gb quota for $99 per month. my slowest speed so far has been 93.23mbps. bring on the streaming services

    1) Is it full HD or just SD?
    2) Does it have 5.1 sound?
    3) Will Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Supernatural etc. be on it, i.e. can we see a list of programming.
    4) How long do the shows stay available?
    5) Does it have new release movies?

    Last edited 05/11/14 11:44 am

      6) Does it support offline playback

      This is VERY IMPORTANT - if I can't download it over home wifi for consumption on buses or trains or planes then i'm not interested.

      BBC and others internationally have been doing this for ages.

    This is definitely good! I will be following this development closely to see which shows end up being available, and at what resolution.

    Hmmmm.
    http://www.stan.com.au/privacy-policy

    Their privacy policy is pretty shithouse.

      I'm too standard normal and average

      Can you just tell me what's bad?

        They onsell your email address to other companies. So prepare for the spamfest.

          How do we disclose your personal information
          We may disclose your personal information to:
          our employees, related bodies corporate, contractors or external service providers for the operation of our websites or our business, fulfilling requests by you, and otherwise in connection with providing our products and services to you, including without limitation, web hosting providers, IT systems administrators, mailing houses, couriers, payment and other transaction processors, photographic analysers, promotions agencies, customer support providers, statistical analysis providers, data entry service providers, electronic network administrators, debt collectors, and professional advisers such as accountants, solicitors, business advisors and consultants;
          our shareholders (ninemsn Pty Ltd and Fairfax Entertainment Pty Ltd) and their related bodies corporate. We may disclose your personal information to these entities for the purposes disclosed in this Privacy Policy, for example, providing data matching and targeted advertising services and enabling us and these entities to better understand and meet your interests and needs;
          our existing or potential agents, business partners or joint venture entities or partners (including for clarity as part of a corporate transaction such as a merger or sale of shares or assets);
          our sponsors, or promoters of any competition that we conduct or promote via our services;
          specific third parties authorised by you to receive information held by us;
          the police, any relevant authority or enforcement body, or your Internet Service Provider or network administrator, for example, if we have reason to suspect that you have committed a breach of any of our terms and conditions, or have otherwise been engaged in any unlawful activity, and we reasonably believe that disclosure is necessary; and/or
          as required or permitted by any law (including the Privacy Act).

          So that covers pretty much everything they know about you available to anyone who wants it.
          Sounds peachy.. where do i sign?

          Last edited 05/11/14 4:22 pm

    yeah depends on what content they have, what Netflix will cost here and what content THEY will have. TBH I'd probably get it anyway, I pay around $15 per month for Netflix after exchange etc and an extra $5 for the VPN so it would cost around the same to get both AU Netflix AND Stan.

    Firstly, "Stan"? What made them choose "Stan"? That's like if Netflix had called themselves "George". Is it supposed to be short for something?

    Second, god I f-ing HATE Rebel Wilson. I may be in the minority here but I find her to be the most unfunny, talentless, boring "comedienne" I've ever seen on TV or film. I've hated her ever since I first saw her on Thank God You're Here. The fact she's been so successful in America just confuses the hell out of me.

    Back on topic though, they might finally be getting the picture here. I'm still skeptical, but I'll probably go for a free trial once it launches. I don't really want to have to pay for multiple streaming services though, so these exclusive arrangements they mention are somewhat suspect.

      I may be in the minority here

      Nope. Not a fan. I don't find her funny at all.

    It sounds pretty good. Looking forward to seeing more detail - Perhaps someone's finally listening.

    It will be interesting when competition starts to get going - I don't imagine any content will be available non-exclusively, so we will be faced with a choice - allow a monopoly of all the desired content to one mega provider who can then charge what they want (Which we pretty much have now), or have to take out multiple subscriptions to multiple providers so we can see all the content that's available to us - which defeats the purpose of the competition.

    I can't see how this can end in a win-win for providers and consumers in Australia.

    Anyone?

      Near as I can tell from all of the marketing and promotion for Stan in Australia it is all focused at children and not adults. In every advertisement I have seen this has been the case, the target is kids and their parents (by default). I have seen nothing directed to adults in the form of adult content, so Until Stan changes its focus and advertising direction from children to adults every other choice seems to be the better choice.....

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