Subscription video streaming platform Stan has hit 1 million subscribers , a figure considered to be the point where the Netflix rival would break-even , however chief executive Mike Sneesby has yet to confirm whether the business is about to turn a profit .
The Australian-based Stan, a joint venture between Fairfax Media (owner of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age) and Nine Entertainment Co, has long flagged reaching a figure around the million mark would be a turning point for the company’s cash flow profitability .
However, on announcing hitting the milestone yesterday afternoon, Mr Sneesby would not confirm whether Stan was yet at breakeven . It is understood shareholders would need to be advised first with the specific active subscriber number needed closer to 1.1 million.
Mr Sneesby told Fairfax Media the business ‘‘ continues to be on track with its long-term plan and growth strategy’’ . Both Fairfax and Nine said at their recent financial results to the Australian Stock Exchange that break-even would happen in fiscal 2018.
Mr Sneesby also announced Stan is putting extra money into new programming agreements and commissions, but would not release the details.
They include, however, exclusive output deals with Hollywood giants Lionsgate and Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM).
This means subscribers will soon see MGM’s Bond franchise exclusively on the Stan library, and 10-part TV series The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair premiering in 2018. The agreement includes TV series Get Shorty and Condor, and films Death Wish, Tomb Raider and Overboard.
Lionsgate’s STARZ series Sweetbitter and Vida, and docuseries Wrong Man will be on the platform.
Stan has had a long-term partnership with STARZ and Lionsgate , which has resulted in some of the platform’s “biggest hits,” Mr Sneesby said. These include Ash vs Evil Dead and The Girlfriend Experience . Mr Sneesby said Stan was beefing up its original content with the commission of a new six-part mystery drama series, Bloom, through Australian production company Playmaker. This is in partnership with Sony Pictures Television.
Another Stan Original, The Gloaming, an eight-part drama series, will be produced by Victoria Madden and John Molloy with Disney’s ABC Studios International. Production is expected to begin in Tasmania in late-2018 . Bloom and The Gloaming are Stan’s biggest original productions to date, Mr Sneesby said. Stan’s No Activity is set to return as a stand-alone Christmas special, The Night Before Christmas . In a statement, Mr Sneesby said Australia’s television landscape “continues to change rapidly” with many “changing their TV viewing habits” .
There is speculation in television circles that subscription video platforms, such as Netflix and Stan, could soon be forced by the government to provide a specified amount of Australian content, similar to the current quota rules for free-to-air television companies.
Research in 2017 from RMIT University estimated Netflix’s Australian library included 2.5 per cent of locally-made content, while Stan had 9.5 per cent though with a smaller overall library.
Mr Sneesby would not confirm whether Stan was yet at break-even .