Hub Research: Content Brands Matter in Crowded Streaming Universe

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, according to Hub Entertainment Research’s annual “Evolution of Video Branding” survey.

Brand awareness and brand familiarity are different. The vast sums expended on marketing during the streaming wars have been effective as all the major platforms have brand awareness above 90%, according to Hub.   

But as far as brand understanding, far fewer feel confident that they could explain to someone else what each platform does best, or how it’s different from the others. This is the case even for companies that are masters at branding, such as Apple. Almost all respondents said they were aware of Apple TV+, but fewer than half felt they understand its content offering. In the end, consumers are choosing between a well-known set of brands, without a clear understanding of what differentiates them, according to the study.

Without a clear understanding of the difference between platforms, consumers turn to other guideposts, such as program brands, according to Hub. In the study, 41% of viewers said they have signed up for a platform just to watch one specific show (up from 35% two years ago). This is even more pronounced among desirable audiences, such as young people. In the study, 57% of those age 16 to 34 said they have signed up to watch one particular show.

New shows based on familiar characters or histories have a leg up in the discovery process. In the study, 40% of all respondents said they would be more likely to watch a new show based on the Marvel universe (the highest of the 10 brands tested). But the next three highest were broadcast TV procedurals that have already had successful spinoffs.

Another example is the “Yellowstone” franchise (shows set in the world of “Yellowstone” or marketed as coming from the same creator). Among the respondents who had ever watched “Yellowstone,” almost three-fourths (70%) said they 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 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. 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,” David Tice, senior consultant to Hub and co-author of the study, said in a statement. “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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The findings are from Hub’s 2023 “Evolution of Video Branding” report, based on a survey conducted among 2,400 U.S. consumers with broadband, age 16-74, who watch at least one hour of TV per week. Interviews were conducted in February 2023 and explored attitudes towards brands associated with traditional TV service as well as those providing streaming TV service. A free excerpt of the findings is available on Hub’s website.

Report: COVID-19 Changing Consumer Interest in Video Ads, News Programming

With social distancing, economic shutdown and consumer habits turned on their ear during the coronavirus pandemic, new research from eMarketer finds people are increasingly seeking out news on the virus for updates and intel on the near future.

The research group in separate online surveys conducted on March 12 and April 3, respectively, with more than 1,000 respondents, found that in less than a month’s time between surveys, there was a 12% growth in consumers seeking out coronavirus-related content online. In March, 58% of 1,042 respondents said they sought out virus-related content. That percentage jumped to 65% of 1,120 respondents in April.

Compared to the first study, there’s been a surge in news consumption — 75% of respondents are now consuming more news in general, compared to 59% in March.

Between the first and second surveys, eMarketer said it saw little change in consumer likelihood to engage with ads, indicating that consumers remain uncertain about responding to advertisements during this time. However, most respondents said that ads appearing next to coronavirus content wouldn’t change their opinion of the brands.

In March, respondents said they felt that advertising alongside coronavirus content was mostly fine — in April they now feel that it depends on the brand. Among brands respondents don’t want to see associated with virus news, include travel (53%), real estate (40%), automobiles (33%), food & beverage (32%) and banking, finance (28%).

Brands respondents said they do want to see include healthcare (56%), government (42%), education (34%), non-profit (35%), tech and telecom (25%).

eMarketer found that among respondents brand advertising alongside positive headlines generates the most favorable responses. When given two examples of positive, neutral, and negative news headlines, respondents were increasingly favorable toward a brand as the sentiment of the content changes from negative to neutral to positive.

“Consumers are more likely to engage with ads next to coronavirus content if seen on premium and recognizable news sources,” read the report. “Consumers have more favorable responses to advertisements that appear alongside positive coronavirus news and content.”

Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google Among Top Brands in Survey

Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google and Samsung placed among the top brands in a new survey from global consultancy firm Prophet.

The firm released its fourth annual Brand Relevance Index, in which it surveyed 12,694 consumers in the United States across 299 brands in 37 categories.

The top 10 in order were Apple, Amazon, Pinterest, Netflix, Android, Google, Samsung, Kitchen Aid, Spotify and Nike.

Among the top 25, media and entertainment companies included YouTube (No. 12), PlayStation (No. 13), Disney (No. 14), Pixar (No. 15), Sony (No. 21) and Xbox (No. 25).

“It’s clear that to be successful, brands need more than size and ubiquity,” said Scott Davis, chief growth officer, Prophet, in a statement. “They must create a product that people love enough to integrate into their everyday lives. The brands that inspire this level of loyalty will ultimately grow the fastest because they are relevant in the moments that matter most to consumers.”

Netflix and Pixar were among top brands that were most “customer obsessed,” according to the survey, while PlayStation, Marvel and Google were most “pervasively innovative.” Netflix was the category leader in the “Media” segment, PlayStation led in “Electronics & Gaming,” Apple led in “Computing & Software,” Amazon led in “Retailers” and Verizon led in “Telecommunications.”

Apple, Netflix, Pinterest, Amazon and Android were the top brands, in order, among females. Amazon, Apple, PlayStation, Spotify and Samsung, in order, were the top brands among males.

Among millennials, the top brands, in order, were Netflix, Amazon, KitchenAid, Apple and Google. Among non-millennials, top brands, in order, were Apple, Amazon, Pinterest, Android and Netflix.

Facebook (No. 205) was the “biggest mover” in the negative direction.