Subscription VoD service Stan is convinced that exclusive premium content including original Australian productions and the depth and breadth of its film and TV library will give it the edge over its rivals.

Stan CEO Mike Sneesby does not see the looming battle between Stan, the Seven West Media/Foxtel co-venture Presto Entertainment and Netflix (which is due to launch in March) as a winner-takes-all contest.

He points to US research which shows that 40%-50% of SVoD consumers pay for more than one service. “I expect the degree of overlap here will be even greater,” he tells IF. “It will be great for consumers because they will have huge choices.”

Jointly owned by Nine Entertainment Co. and Fairfax Media, Stan has announced content deals with Viacom International Media Networks, CBS Studios, MGM, BBC Worldwide, Sony Pictures Television, ABC Commercial and SBS/World Movies.

All are non-exclusive with the notable exceptions of four titles from Sony and MGM’s Fargo. The Sony deal gives Stan all Australian rights to Better Call Saul, the prequel to Breaking Bad which has already been renewed for a second season, and exclusive SVoD rights to Breaking Bad.

The Sony arrangement also includes the Australian premieres of two series from Amazon Studios: Transparent, a comedy-drama about a Los Angeles family whose father (Jeffrey Tambor) reveals he is transgender; and Mozart in the Jungle, the tale of a young oboist in New York and her relationship with the orchestra’s volatile conductor, starring Gone Girl’s Lola Kirke and Gael Garcia Bernal.

SBS retains the free-to-air rights to the second season of Fargo, which is set in 1979, but Stan will be the exclusive SVoD platform.

Sneesby says, “We will announce more TV and movie exclusives and our first original Australian commissions in early 2015.” He’s not giving any hints about the local productions but boasts they will be “big brands with big names.”

The exec fully expected the Foxtel/SWM alliance, observing, “Foxtel is a formidable competitor and we always knew they would have strong product.”

Stan has not revealed its launch date or pricing but has signalled there will be a free trial period. A January start and a fee of $10 per month seem likely.

Sneesby says its research indicates as many as 1.5 million Australian homes are prepared to pay $10 per month for a broad mix of premium and library content.

The Viacom International Media Networks deal announced today includes kids shows SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, iCarly, Drake & Josh and Dora the Explorer; comedies South Park and Tosh, scripted series Awkward and Reno 911; and reality shows Teen Mom, Geordie Shore, The Hills and 16 & Pregnant.

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