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From 'Twin Peaks' to 'Star Trek': Stan partners with Showtime

Trekkies, Dexter fans and Laura Palmer conspiracy theorists take note: Stan has partnered with US network Showtime to get first-run exclusives and a raft of back catalogue content.

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Stan is billing itself as the new home of US network Showtime.

Claire Reilly/CNET

It's Showtime for Stan after the streaming service announced it has landed a major licensing deal with US-based TV network, bringing first run exclusives on TV shows and access to a massive back catalogue of content for Stan subscribers.

The deal is a big win for the local streaming service, which will get a raft of exclusive Showtime content to keep subscribers happy and win new customers into the fold. (Disclaimer: Showtime is owned by CBS, parent company of CNET). The partnership is also a massive win for "Twin Peaks" fans, many of whom have been waiting 25 years for the kinds of backwards-talking dream sequences that modern streaming services have been calling for.

And Trekkies take note: the deal will mean you'll be able to watch every episode of every "Star Trek" TV series on Stan.

The announcement comes after Stan aired the first episode of US series "Billions" this week, a Showtime production that racked up a network record audience of 3 million on its premiere. Stan will have exclusive access to "Billions," day and date with its US airing on Showtime.

Stan CEO Mike Sneesby is billing the deal as a massive win for the young streaming service, which celebrated its first birthday on Australia Day this week.

After name-checking rival Netflix, which he said had been a "great ally" in building recognition for subscription video on demand (SVOD) in Australia, Sneesby said this deal would help Stan to build a "differentiated" offering that would win customers over.

"What you see from Stan in Australia is a completely locally-focused proposition," he said. "We're picking the best shows, from the best studios and the best networks around the world, we're partnering with the best creators of content so we can bring the best of the best. And on top of that, we're producing our own original productions."

The deal comes at a time when local and international streaming services are jostling to secure flagship content, giving customers a reason to pony up $10 a month for a ticket to the latest bingeable series and the watercooler conversations that follow.

These big licensing arrangements with international studios and distributors serve as a counterpoint to the original series that streaming services are also locking down as a way of setting themselves apart.

Netflix might be the best known for this, with its originals such as "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black" forming a tentpole in programming and becoming household names outside of the platform. Stan has also pushed hard on the local originals front, commissioning the local comedy series "No Activity" and the episodic TV spin-off of "Wolf Creek."

But while these originals are a way for streaming platforms to get around expensive licensing deals (which often come with their own region-specific parameters), the big content deals are still lucrative when it comes to securing titles that will draw customers in.

Stan spent plenty of time talking up the Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis double-header "Billions," but details were thin on the value of the deal and how long the partnership was slated to last. Citing "confidentiality" in negotiations (and not wanting to step on the toes of other broadcasters), Sneesby also wouldn't say when shows that are currently airing on other free-to-air or pay TV networks (through existing licensing deals) would be coming to Stan.

According to a press release from Stan, "over the course of the new agreement, hundreds of hours of quality Showtime programming will also become exclusively available on Stan on SVOD...[and] current rights with other platforms will remain unchanged, with series migrating to Stan for SVOD as permitted when existing commitments expire."

That means Stan will soon be your home for shows such as "Dexter," "Californication," "House of Lies," "Penny Dreadful" and "Ray Donovan". The deal also includes exclusive streaming rights CBS series such as "Madam Secretary," "Limitless," "Elementary" and "Under the Dome."