Stan CEO Mike Sneesby says Disney+ launch is ‘going to be terrific for everyone’

Tomorrow’s launch of Disney+ will be ‘terrific for everyone’ in the market, according to Stan CEO Mike Sneesby, and isn’t going to hurt the locally-based streaming platform, despite the fact it’s likely to lose its partnership with the international content giant.

Speaking on the Screen Australia podcast, Sneesby said that the figures have shown that of over 1.7m subscribers to Stan, only a very small proportion watch Disney, and none watch only Disney.

Sneesby isn’t worried about the launch of Disney+

“Disney has fantastic content. The brand and franchises on Stan have performed very well, but in the broader scheme of things, they are one in about 100 of our important distributors of first-run content,” Sneesby told Screen Australia.

“In that over 1.7m, only a very small proportion of that base are largely Disney watching. None only watch Disney. It’s a phenomenal brand, phenomenal content, but for us it’s part of a much broader content lineup.

“Disney+ will come into the market, they’ll help to grow the market. It’s going to be terrific for everyone.”

Sneesby said Disney+ only reflects ‘one pillar’ of the content strategy of the Disney business overall, which includes Fox and Marvel properties, and that while he couldn’t say anything yet, he was confident on the future of the relationship between Stan and Disney.

The interview ranged across a variety of topics, including the launch of Stan, in which the business was able to receive a $100m investment and used that to secure important launch partnerships, including with Sony for Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.

“Sony signed a global deal with Netflix for essentially every other market, but they backed us in Australia,” said Sneesby.

Stan’s launch in Australia pre-dated the rise of Netflix in this market, but the writing was already on the wall, says Sneesby, and it was clear this was the future of TV. In fact, Sneesby says, in future, all television will be delivered over the internet.

When Netflix began building its brand here though, it didn’t hurt Stan.

“Consumers will take multiple services. This isn’t like the choice between a mobile phone carrier where you’re locked into one,” said Sneesby.

“When Netflix launched, subscriber run rates lifted to a new level. The whole market lifted.

“Together, we are bringing streaming to Australians.”

But that’s not to say Stan is blind to the content being produced by Netflix. In fact, the business has furthered itself in Australia by filling the gaps left by the international streaming platforms. Stan claims 10% of its content currently is Australian content.

“When you look at our original deals such as No Activity, as much as we are a company that utilises a similar delivery mechanism and product structure as Netflix, [we] make our product as different as possible.

“That’s a key metric our content team has always had, was to ensure minimal duplication between us and Netflix as we buy and create content.

“In terms of No Activity, we commissioned that show a couple of months after we launched the service, we didn’t have any subscribers, but that was symbolic of our plans and getting into original productions.”

Sneesby also talked about the Nine and Fairfax merger, and said nothing has changed inside Stan since. The business was a joint venture between Nine and Fairfax at its launch. He also spoke about the importance of evergreen content, and teased more ‘big classics’ coming to Stan soon, some which have never appeared on streaming services in Australia before. Stan already has favourites including The Office, Will and Grace, Parks and Recreation, and Friends.

Listen to the full chat with Sneesby and the Screen Australia podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or Pocket Casts. 


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