- Hub’s annual “Evolution of Video Branding” survey reveals viewers often have a hard time differentiating the brands of streaming services, and turn to known content or creative brands to help make viewing decisions.
- With so many platforms, and an imperfect understanding of how they’re different from one another, exclusive content is often the deciding factor.
- One successful piece of IP can form a “discovery chain” that generates and helps retain new viewers.
READ MORE: 2023 Evolution of Video Branding (Hub)
The vast sums expended on marketing during the streaming wars have been effective: all the major platforms have brand awareness above 90 percent. But brand understanding is another matter: far fewer feel confident that they could explain to someone else what each platform does best, or how it’s different from the others.
That’s the chief takeaway from Hub’s 2023 “Evolution of Video Branding” report, which surveyed 2,400 US broadband users between the ages of ages 16-74 who watch at least one hour of TV per week. All things being equal, it is content that differentiates one streaming service from another in the minds of wallet-conscious viewers.
Take Apple, a master at branding: almost all respondents to the survey are aware of Apple TV+, but fewer than half feel they understand the value proposition.
“In the end consumers are choosing between a well-known set of brands, without a clear understanding of what differentiates them,” finds David Tice, senior consultant to Hub and co-author of the study.
Without a clear understanding of the difference between platforms, consumers are turning to other guideposts, such as program brands. Per the survey: 41% of viewers say they have signed up for a platform just to watch one specific show (up from 35% just two years ago).
This is even more pronounced among key audience segments such as young people: 57% of those ages 16-34 have signed up just to watch one particular show.
When lost in a sea of content, viewers look for what’s familiar: New shows based on familiar characters or histories have a leg up in the discovery process.
Forty percent of Hub survey respondents said they would be more likely to watch a new show based on the Marvel universe (the highest percentage of the 10 brands it tested.)
But the next three-highest were broadcast TV procedurals that have already had successful spinoffs.
Another example is the Yellowstone franchise. Among respondents who had ever watched Yellowstone, almost three-quarters also watched at least one of Sheridan’s other shows (1883, 1923, Tulsa King, or Mayor of Kingstown).
Perhaps most notably, viewers had to put in some effort to watch these: Yellowstone is only on the Paramount cable network and on Peacock, while the other shows are only available on Paramount+.
“Viewers have not lacked in choice of services and content over the past few years,” Tice added. “But this can be a two-edged sword for content providers, as the immense volume just makes it hard for viewers to remember what is different about each service. But at the end of the day, content is king, and unique content will drive viewers even if the service itself isn’t unique to consumers.”
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