Stan’s Exclusive Showtime Deal: Enough To Give Netflix The Boot?

Stan’s Exclusive Showtime Deal: Enough To Give Netflix The Boot?

Australian streaming service Stan has announced a new long-term licensing agreement with US cable television network Showtime. The deal gives Stan exclusive rights to popular TV shows including House of Lies, Penny Dreadful, Dexter, Californication and the new season of Twin Peaks. It also includes Star Trek — all of it. With Netflix moving to shut down access to its US catalogue, could it be time for Aussies to switch to a different streaming service?

Firstly, let’s get some disclosure out of the way: Lifehacker is published by Allure Media, and Fairfax (which has a 50 per cent stake in Stan) owns Allure Media. The opinions contained in this article are my own.

It’s been a while coming, but Stan is finally beginning to pick up steam in its fight for Aussie lounge rooms. Following last year’s announcement of locally-produced original TV shows, the streaming service has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Showtime. The deal kicks into effect this week, with a slew of new shows added to Stan’s existing catalogue.

In addition to the aforementioned Showtime series, the deal also includes exclusive rights to content from the cable network’s owner CBS. (Some of the CBS shows coming to the service include Madam Secretary, Limitless, Elementary, Scorpion, Under the Dome, Extant, Beauty and the Beast and Reign.)

But perhaps the biggest coup for sci-fi fans is exclusive access to every episode of Star Trek — from the original series right up to Deep Space Nine. Both series have also been digitally remastered. [Note: Some of the aforementioned shows were already available on Stan, but they’re now “exclusive” content which means you can’t watch them on any other entertainment service provider in Australia.]

If you’re currently enjoying Showtime content on Foxtel or free-to-air TV, there’s not need to panic — yet. These shows will continue to run until their existing contracts expire. Only then will they migrate exclusively to Stan.

This announcement couldn’t come at a better time for Stan. Last week, Netflix made a lot of Australian customers angry when it moved to block VPN users from accessing its larger US catalogue (story here). In place of the US version of Netflix, affected users have been receiving a message instructing them to turn off their unblockers and proxies. Boo.

However, we suspect this announcement probably won’t be enough to entice regular Netflix users away from the service. Stan currently has 700,000 existing subscribers while Netflix’s Australian user base exceeds one million. This is despite Stan having a two-month head start Down Under.

Then there’s Netflix’s decision to double down on original content — this year, the company has announced it will release 31 series, including new shows such as Baz Luhrmann’s The Getdown and Queen Elisabeth biopic The Crown. There will also be 24 original feature films and documentaries, 30 original kids series and new stand-up comedy specials.

Compared to all this, Stan’s Showtime triumph looks a lot less impressive. Doubtlessly, it will score some disgruntled geo-dodgers looking to make a vengeful switch, but for the most part the deal is unlikely to change Australia’s streaming landscape much. Nevertheless, it’s nice to see the local challenger stirring things up. Could a monthly price drop also be on the cards? Exciting times are ahead.

We’ll be putting both streaming services through their paces alongside Foxtel’s Presto in a future Planhacker. Watch this space!


  • I subscribe to both Netflix and Stan yet there is still quite a gap in available content (I’m looking at you HBO!). The two combined are still less expensive than Foxtel and I don’t have to sit through ads!

  • All of Star Trek may be enough to get me there on Stan. had just started watching it on US Netflix.

    • I notice it says all of Star Trek up to Deep Space Nine. They already had those series last time I checked.

      What they were missing was Voyager and Enterprise. The implied omission of the later series may be deliberate or accidental.

      Since Voyager is the only Star Trek series I don’t have in its entirety, I’m interested to see what comes of it. I’m also curious how this affects Foxtel, for whom the Showtime material has always been part of their core offering.

  • Gah. Stop with the exclusive content already. I just want to pick a provider and watch all the shows.
    Win customers with your amazing service, high quality, fast streaming and value adding stuff.
    Not with your contracts which are designed to lock everyone else out.

    • Exclusive contracts are the worst for consumers. Any time I see a company advertising it as a good thing, I feel like they really don’t understand just how much they’ve fucking people over. It’s like they really don’t care about their customers, just about whatever business metrics they’re trying to hit (obviously not customer satisfaction!)…

    • Exactly this. I want to subscribe to a platform because I think it offers the best product in terms of usability, features etcetera; not just because they are holding my favourite shows at ransom.

      • Err… What about the Netflix originals like House of Cards or Daredevil? No exclusive rights to those means those shows don’t get made.

        No Activity on Stan was also surprisingly excellent.

          • … and then what? Sell them to all the distribution providers for the same price? What if only one provider wants to air the show, or is willing to pay more than another provider?

            Look, in theory it would be nice not to have to choose between the content providers, but the reality is that it’s never going to happen. That’s just not how the whole thing works. Netflix (and to a lesser extent Stan) would have 0 incentive to make the brilliant shows they are making now if you could just watch it using a competing service.

          • Well, yes.

            That’s like saying every music label should be able to sell every band’s music… so why would any music label fund a band when they can just let someone else spend the money and reap the rewards?

          • No, it’s like saying only 1 radio station can play an album. The record company produces a record, they then sell it to other parties to sell to consumers. It’s the part where end consumers purchase the product that’s important.

          • @moonhead No it isn’t, because the radio station doesn’t create the music it plays. The closest example I can think of is the JJJ ‘Like a Version’ songs – I don’t think they get played on any other stations?

            If Stan and Netflix were simply broadcasters, then I would 100% agree with you. However, they create original content, and if Stan was free to broadcast Daredevil and House of Cards, Netflix would very quickly stop creating them. Essentially it’s a Free Rider problem – if Netflix can’t gain a competitive advantage from producing high-quality original content, then they won’t produce the original content at all.

          • @cffndncr I never mentioned 1st party productions. This is about exclusive content being purchased.

          • @moonhead lol my very first comment was about original content, I’d assumed that’s what we were talking about!

            That being said, I think they’re inextricably linked. The fact that you have 1st party content exclusive to individual providers means that there is always going to be different content on different services.

    • Came here to say this as well. Whenever I see stuff like this, it just drives me in the other direction.

      The complete irony here, is that this is the exact situation we were all wanting to get out of before Netflix [and others] launched in Australia, so that we could escape the exclusivities of an overpriced Foxtel service. [I’m still incredibly annoyed about Free-to-air programming being pulled onto Foxtel].

      Now, we’ve had multiple streaming services show up [Presto, too], each with their own exclusive licenses, meaning that you have to sign up to multiple services now anyway if you want a decent breadth.

      Complete rubbish.

  • This is a big deal with Stan. But as someone else pointed out in the comments, we just want to pick one provider and be done with it. We can’t do that if streaming services lock up content as exclusive. I have both Netflix and Stan and I do enjoy both. But IMO Netflix is a far better experience than Stan by a mile. Now if I could get everything on Netflix and not have to pay for both then I will be happy.

    • You’re entirely right – article should read months, not years. This has been amended.

  • Hardly exclusive, Hulu + Showtime has been around for a while…

    Also, supported on useful devices, unlike the crappy, half-baked Aussie services.

  • When does the deal take effect? When I looked on Stan just now it still only had Ray Donovan series 1, when in fact it has had two more series since which are available on the Showtime app. I presume the Showtime deal just hasn’t kicked in yet?

  • Eh, I wouldn’t ever use Stan because I feel that they’re [the company are part of] the reason Netflix had such a hard trouble even coming to Australia, not to mention trying to gain proper licensing. I also feel Stan Company wouldn’t give two shizzles into the Australian consumers if it wasn’t for the fact that Netflix is finally available here.
    It is regrettable that Netflix is starting to block VPN use, but they have been vocal enough in saying the believe there shouldn’t be restrictions, plus it seems pretty obvious this is mostly happening due to media companies placing pressure (media companies which I feel have large ties with the ones who own Stan).
    Put bluntly I just don’t trust Stan to do whats right to their customers, and with alternatives available I would rather put my money to a company I prefer more.
    Its nice to see extra licensing and media coming to Australia, but Stan lost my favour long enough a go that it isn’t a show problem for me.

  • The opinions contained in this article are my own.

    Was the idea to write this article also your own, or was it ‘suggested’ by Allure media/Faifax?
    Genuinely intrested to know.

  • one of the streaming services need to make a deal with HBO to stream their content here in Australia and then it might be worth while to switch to whichever has it or HBO to start streaming here in Australia but that might be a problem with Foxtel licensing shows

  • I tried Stan for a 3 month trial and found some things I liked and a lot of filler (as per Netflix). The biggest kicker for me was the massive data chew I got from Stan compared to the free usage with Iinet on Netflix. I’ll stick with the exclusives and if I really want to watch anything exclusive on Stan use the money saved from excess data charges to buy it.

  • Showtime………yuck, crappy series’, generally boring, only one or two steps away from Aussie reality creep shows. Must have Aussie content to keep the industry afloat….whaaaat…farmers want wives, kitchen brawls over shitty food, X lack of talent, Voice lack of talent, scruffy unshaven bachelors with bimbos, ready to (marry)…..joke.
    No venues for Aussies to learn world=class singing, acting, script-writing, SFA……just give up, let the Brits/USA high-class shows rule, Aussie crap hasn’t made it after umpteen years, never will.

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