The streaming landscape in Australia is to become larger and more complicated with the imminent launches of Stan Sports, and Disney’s Star.
Stan, the Australian streaming service that is now wholly-owned by Nine Entertainment, is taking the game to incumbents Optus and Foxtel with the kick-off of its add-on package Stan Sports in time for the ‘Down Under’ winter sports season.
Stan Sports’ initial major focus will be Rugby Union, with tennis in a minor league.
Stan is understood to have agreed a A$100 million ($76.1 million) three-year deal as the exclusive broadcaster of Super Rugby, the professional men’s competition that involves club teams from both Australia and New Zealand. It will also carry multiple other rugby competitions and leagues, including the Rugby Championship, Bledisloe Cup, Shute Shield, Hospital Cup, Currie Cup and New Zealand’s National Provincial Championship, plus Super W, Wallabies and Wallaroos test matches, and SANZAAR Union home tests.
“For the first time in Rugby’s history, fans can experience the game from its grassroots all the way to the international level, allowing a whole new generation of Australians to connect with the sport,” Stan CEO Mike Sneesby said.
Stan Sports’ tennis serving currently includes the Wimbledon and Roland Garros grand slam tournaments. Others events being negotiated.
Stan customers who pre-activate soon can get a 30-day free trial. Thereafter, the package is sold at A$10 ($7.61) per month. Although the focus is narrower than the competition, Stan Sports is significantly cheaper than soccer-heavy Optus Sport, sold at A$14.99 ($11.40) to users without Optus mobile or internet plans, and the A$25 ($19.02) a month for the basic version of Kayo Sports. Australia’s dominant pay-TV operator Foxtel launched Kayo in late 2018 in response to subscribers drifting off to streaming platforms. By mid-2020 it claimed more than half a million paying subscriptions.
Details are also beginning to emerge about the previously-trailed Feb. 23 launch of Star, Disney Plus’s more adult-themed cousin, which pulls in content from Disney Television Studios and Touchstone and the content brands FX, 20th Century Studios, 20th Television that were acquired as part of the 21st Century Fox acquisition in 2019.
In Australia, it will launch as a fully-integrated part of Disney Plus, and with its own branded tile on the platform’s home screen. The initial line-up contains debut with four original series, 447 movies including “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “The French Connection” and “28 Days Later,” and TV series including “Castle,” “Family Guy,” “Felicity,” “My So-Called Life” and “Prison Break.”
Local media report that it will push up the price of Disney Plus subscriptions by about a third. Monthly subs will climb from A$8.99 ($6.84) to A$11.99 ($9.12), while the annual package will increase from A$89.99 ($68.47) to A$119 ($90.54), though existing subscribers will enjoy a six-month reprieve.