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Netflix or Stan: Which streaming service is best?

We compare two of the most popular streaming services.

Last updated: 28 July 2023

It used to be so simple. If you wanted to stream high quality TV content you subscribed to Netflix and promptly moved on with your life. 

But in the years since Netflix launched in Australia in 2015, the streaming market has splintered. Want to keep up-to-date with all the latest shows? You might need subs for at least three services. Possibly even five or six!

It all feels a bit unsustainable. You can't subscribe to everything. At some point you need to choose and we're here to help you make that choice.

According to content aggregator JustWatch, Netflix is still the most popular streaming platform in Australia, but the Australia-based Stan is giving it a run for its money. We've decided to compare the two – on the basis of content and content alone. This is obviously extremely subjective and dependent on personal taste. But if you're looking for more detailed, objective reviews based on performance, stability and usability, CHOICE has you covered. Read more on how each streaming service stacks up according to those metrics.

But if you want to know what's best based on the movies and TV shows available, stick around.

Which has the most content?

Based on the sheer volume of content available on both services, Netflix wins out comprehensively. According to JustWatch, Stan has around 1500 movies and 600 TV shows; Netflix has a rotating library of around 4300 movies and 2500 TV shows. 

But as we're all aware, quality often usurps quantity. So let's break things down a little.

If you like movies…

This is fairly tight, but I'd probably go with Netflix. 

Movies can be tricky to find via Netflix's user interface, but there sure are a lot of them. Stan is no slouch either. In a lot of ways Stan's varied and accessible library is better value, depending on your tastes. It can be hard to quantify, but I've lost track of the times I've wanted to rewatch a 70s or 80s classic and somehow found it on Stan. 

If you like documentaries…

You should probably go with Netflix. 

Netflix features an incredible suite of original documentaries, both in terms of movies and series. There's true crime Netflix originals like Making a Murderer and The Keepers, alongside world-class sports documentaries like The Last Dance and Untold. Not to mention top-notch nature documentaries like Our Planet and My Octopus Teacher. The range and quality is unmatched by Stan. Prime Video competes fairly robustly with Netflix in the documentary genre, but Stan is nowhere near.

If you like sport…

You should probably go with Stan.

You have to pay extra on top of the regular Stan subscription – which is extremely annoying – but Stan has an ever-evolving sport section that's bordering on decent. It features a lot of rugby and coverage of all the tennis grand slams. The crown jewel, however, is soccer. Stan Sport currently has the rights to show the major European soccer competitions, including the UEFA  Champion League and the UEFA Europa League. Netflix has stayed very committed to not pursuing live sports on its platform.

men watching sport on tv

Stan Sport currently has the rights to show the major European soccer competitions.

If you have kids…

You should probably go with Netflix.

Netflix has an entire section dedicated to shows aimed at children. Most streaming services do this, but only Disney Plus and Prime Video can match the volume and quality of Netflix. Not only does Netflix have a rotating cast of licensed classics, it features some really unique, beautifully made Netflix originals. Shows like Ask the Storybots and Emily's Wonderlab are both fun and educational. You can't ask for more than that.

If you like Australian TV…

You should probably go with Stan.

Again, this one is tight. Netflix has done a great job of bringing Australian content to its service, most notably resuscitating 90s cult classic Heartbreak High and giving it a 2020s makeover. 

But when it comes to local content, you'd expect the Australian-based Stan to win out and it does. We've got Rake, Underbelly, Utopia – we've even got The Flying Doctors. There's a lot to choose from if you're feeling patriotic about television.

If you like anime…

You should probably subscribe to Crunchyroll – but also Netflix!

Netflix has been quietly accumulating a diverse portfolio of popular anime shows, but beyond that, it's also producing some genuinely exciting Netflix Originals. Cyberpunk Edgerunners wasn't just one of the best anime shows released in 2022, it was arguably one of the best TV shows of 2022, period. Vinland Saga season 2 has also been extremely good in 2023. Perhaps best of all, a subscription to Netflix gives you access to almost every movie released by the legendary Studio Ghibli. That's some good value.

If you like fantasy…

You should probably go with Netflix

Netflix is lacking a big hitter fantasy show like Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, but low-key has a deep roster for fans of the genre. Shows like The Witcher, Shadow and Bone and The Sandman are among the highlights, but that's just scratching the surface. If you're into fantasy, you need a Netflix sub. 

But ultimately…

The choice is yours! It's usually best to have a quick check of what's available on each service to get an idea of what you prefer. Content aggregators such as JustWatch provide up-to-date views of what's available on all streaming platforms. 

It always makes sense to rotate. Don't be afraid to swap subscriptions, or suspend them in order to try another service for a few months. It's also worth noting that there are many streaming services out there, like SBS On Demand and ABC iView, that are completely free. 

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.