Disney+ Launches in Australia, New Zealand and Puerto Rico

Disney’s branded subscription streaming video service, Disney+, has quietly launched in Australia, New Zealand and Puerto Rico — and in the process put immediate competitive pressure on reigning SVOD services Netflix and Stan with more than 11 million and 2.9 subscribers, respectively.

The arrival of the $8.99 (Australian) monthly or $89.99 annual Disney+ service features the identical 600 movies and 7,000 episodic programs available in the U.S. and Holland. And for the first time, the first 29 seasons of “The Simpsons” are available  Down Under.

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The Australian debut coincided with Disney content leaving Stan and also being removed from Foxtel, according to Ampere Analysis.

Disney+ household subscription affords up to four people streaming at the same time, downloads on up to 10 devices and the ability to set up to seven profiles.

Disney+ bows in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Spain on March 31, 2020.

Analyst: Amazon Upping Prime Video Content Down Under

With Disney’s pending subscription streaming video service targeting Australia as a major market, Amazon has upped its Prime Video content availability in the region.

While Netflix remains the dominant over-the-top video player in Australia, new data from Ampere Analysis suggests Prime Video has been more aggressive with new content offerings in a SVOD market that will reach 65%  household penetration by the end of the year.

Prime Video increased its content hours by 84% from June 2018 through June 2019, compared to just 18% for Netflix.

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Ampere contends Netflix has produced fewer original productions (17) in Australia compared to other regions such as Mexico (36) and France (30).

“The Australian SVOD market is characterized by transition and opportunity, so it’s not surprising that Amazon has been concentrating efforts here,” Guy Bisson, director at Ampere Analysis, wrote in a note. “The new service from Disney will meet the demand for Children & Family and Action & Adventure content in particular, and by developing a family of streaming services, it will be a ‘super aggregator’”.

The London-based research firm says Aussie SVOD homes prefer indie/arthouse, horror, arts & culture, kids, romance and action compared to documentaries.

The latter among Amazon’s biggest content growth categories, in addition to action/adventure, crime/thrillers and reality.

Netflix continues to focus on romance, crime/thriller, comedy and drama, while local SVOD rival Stan targets kids and family.

“We believe [these trends] will continue, anticipating that the gap we’ve identified in the market for a premium streaming aggregator will be filled by partnerships, original productions and acquisitions,” Bisson wrote. “This is a great time to be a [streamer]in Australia.”


Netflix Australia Tops 11.6 Million Subscribers

Netflix has more than 11.6 million subscribers in Australia — four years after launching service in a country of 24 million pe0ple. That tally is up nearly 18% from a year ago, according to new data from research firm Roy Morgan.

Nearly 14 million Aussies (age 14 and above) now have access to pay-TV or subscription video-on-demand, which is up nearly 8% from last year.

Leading Australian-owned SVOD service Stan has about 2.9 million subs, up more than 43% from a year ago.Rival services include Amazon Prime Video (+130.7%), YouTube Premium (+37%) and Fetch (+20.9%).

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New Foxtel-owned sports streaming service Kayo Sports has more than 300,000 subs after just six months of operation.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says more than two-thirds of Australians now have access to SVOD services in their households – driven largely by the services’ lower monthly cost compared to the traditional pay-TV bundle.

“The results indicate that the low monthly prices for the new subscription services led by Netflix are driving take-up across traditional demographic boundaries, while the higher cost of a full-bundle service from Foxtel is generally favored more by larger family units,” Levine said in a statement.

“Netflix has undoubtedly been a star performer since launching in … a market with a proliferating array of choices for the consumer. It will be more important than ever for existing and new streaming services to correctly identify which genres will appeal to the widest possible audiences.”

Lionsgate Expands Licensing Deal with Australian SVOD Service

Stan and Lionsgate June 5 announced an expanded licensing agreement that will bring upcoming Starz original series and hundreds of hours of additional Lionsgate and Starz premium programming to the Australian subscription video-on-demand provider.

With the new deal, Stan also becomes the Australian home of Starz Originals.

The agreement marks the latest step in the continued rollout of the Starz brand internationally, according to the studio, with Lionsgate partnering with Bell Media in Canada and Amazon Prime Video in the United Kingdom and Germany to launch new branded channels and continuing to grow its StarzPlay venture in the Middle East and North Africa.

The deal commences with Starz’s new series “Sweetbitter” and “Vida” and docu-series “Wrong Man” from Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Paradise Lost).

The agreement will also feature upcoming Starz original series such as the supernatural spy thriller “The Rook,” starring Emma Greenwell, Joely Richardson, Olivia Munn and Adrian Lester; “The Continental,” the TV spinoff of Lionsgate’s “John Wick” franchise; and the miniseries The Spanish Princess, a follow-up to The White Queen and The White Princess.

“We’re thrilled to expand our longstanding partnership with our friends at Stan and excited to take our relationship to the next level,” said Lionsgate president of worldwide television and digital distribution Jim Packer. “Our new licensing agreement spans not only a great slate of Starz original series but a deep roster of Lionsgate and Starz premium programming that will resonate with their audiences for years to come.”

“Starz and Lionsgate have been fantastic partners for Stan ever since launch, bringing us some of our biggest hits, including Ash vs Evil DeadThe Girlfriend Experience, and of course the record breaking Power, shortly to debut its fifth season,” said Stan CEO Mike Sneesby. “This new long-term deal takes that relationship to another level, cementing Stan as the Australian home of Starz original series, and exclusively bringing Stan customers some of the biggest and most exciting new shows from one of the biggest names in premium TV for many years to come.”

Stan subscribers will also get access to new Lionsgate shows, including British black comedy hit “Damned” and all four seasons of the drama “The Royals,” starring Elizabeth Hurley and Joan Collins, which will premiere for the first time in Australia on Stan.

Also streaming exclusively on Stan will be the thriller series “10 Days in the Valley,” starring Kyra Sedgwick and the eight-episode, hour-long dramatic action series “Insomnia.” All shows will have full seasons available to stream on their premiere date.