So who owns Stan now?

Posted: 2 January 2019 12:12 pm News

The Australian TV streaming service has been through some changes.

One of the high points of my Christmas break was catching up with No Activity: The Night Before Christmas, the latest instalment in the always-entertaining semi-improvised Stan Original comedy. Stan is now firmly established as the second-biggest streaming provider in Australia (behind Netflix). However, in recent months its ownership structure has changed, although not in an obvious way for most viewers.

Stan was set up back in January 2015 as a joint venture between Australian TV network Nine and Australian news publisher Fairfax, with each pitching in $50 million to get it started. Last year Nine acquired Fairfax (something that wouldn't have previously been possible under media ownership laws). The end result is that as of December 2018, Stan is now entirely owned by Nine.

What does that mean for viewers? So far, not much. Over time, we might expect to see a few more Nine productions showing up on Stan for repeat viewing. However, it's worth bearing in mind that Nine's most successful local productions are reality TV, with The Block and Married At First Sight leading the pack. Those shows typically don't do so well on streaming platforms, where comedies and dramas tend to dominate.

On that front, Stan's recent deal acquiring the rights to most Disney productions is more likely to attract viewers, even if it does have restrictions on downloaded viewing. The general industry assumption is that this is a temporary deal, and that Disney will reclaim rights to those movies and shows when it launches its own Disney+ streaming service in late 2019 or early 2020.

At $10 a month, Stan remains cheap enough that many households will happily pay it as well as Netflix. I'm hoping that it will continue to invest in shows like No Activity and Bloom, and maintain a healthy back catalogue. Competition is helpful! Check out Finder's full list of what's on Stan to see what's on offer.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on finder.com.au.

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