Nine's Stan hikes subscription prices to match Netflix
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Nine's Stan hikes subscription prices to match Netflix

Nine-owned video streaming platform Stan has quietly increased the pricing of its most popular plans after signing a content deal with US-entertainment giant Disney.

The cost of a standard plan has been hiked from $12 to $14 a month and its premium plans by from $15 to $17, bringing the charges in line with rival provider Netflix.

Stan chief executive Mike Sneesby signed a deal with Disney in December.

Stan chief executive Mike Sneesby signed a deal with Disney in December.Credit:Nick Moir

A basic Netflix subscription allowing one screen at a time and standard definition streaming costs $9.99. Standard plans offering high definition and two screens costs $13.99 and premium subscriptions with ultra-high definition and four screens costs $17.99.

For similar features on basic, standard and premium plans Stan charges $10, $14 and $17 respectively. There is a temporary promotion offering the premium plan for $14.

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The price change was rolled out on January 31 with subscribers being sent emails in recent weeks alerting them to the price changes in their next bill. The alert says that in 2019 "more of the biggest and best shows from around the world" would be added from studios like Disney, Starz, MGM and CBS' Showtime. Additional ultra-high definition 4K titles are expected to be added to the library alongside Stan's "biggest" series to date.

Nine, which has owned 100 per cent of Stan since a takeover of Fairfax Media last year, will share its half-yearly results with the market on Thursday and analysts have been particularly keen to scrutinise Stan's results and subscriber numbers in the expectation it could soon break-even. Nine is the owner of this masthead. 

Streaming providers improve revenues by either driving up subscriber numbers - which typically requires an additional spend on content - and increasing the cost of subscriptions.

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Stan hit 1 million subscribers in June last year and has gone through its fastest period of subscriber growth on the back of a deal with Disney before Christmas, which brought classic family-friendly titles like The Lion King onto the subscription platform for the first time. The cost of the short-term deal has not been made public.

Disney is on the verge of launching its own global direct to consumer streaming platform Disney+ though the recent deal with Stan could be a sign of a future partnership.

Netflix raised the cost of its standard middle-tier plan in July 2015 by 17 per cent from $12 to $14 a month and has not moved since, at the time blaming the rise on the introduction of a 10 per cent goods and services tax on digital products.

In January, the US streaming giant hiked its American prices by 30 per cent to $US13 a month ($18) to little concern from its subscribers.

Stan chief executive Mike Sneesby and a Nine spokeswoman both declined to comment ahead of the broadcaster's results later this week.

Jennifer Duke is a media and telecommunications journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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