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Video service providers struggle for differentiation

The findings are from Hub’s 2023 Evolution of Video Branding report, based on a survey conducted in February 2023 among 2,400 US consumers with broadband, age 16-74, who watch at least 1 hour of TV per week.

Fundamentally, the study found that even though all the major platforms have brand awareness above 90%, brand awareness and brand familiarity are two very different things. 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 without a clear understanding of what differentiates them. Far fewer than 90% feel confident that they could explain to someone else what each platform does best, or how it’s different from the others.

Emphasising its point, Hub cited Apple TV+. Even for a master of branding like Apple, less than half of the survey felt they understood the value proposition of its subscription video service.

Without a clear understanding of the difference between platforms, consumers were turning to other guideposts, such as programme brands. Just over two-fifths (41%) of viewers said they had signed up for a platform just to watch one specific show, up from 35% two years ago. This was even more pronounced among desirable audiences like young people: 57% of those aged 16 to 34 had signed up to watch one particular show.

New shows based on familiar characters or histories had an advantage in the discovery process. 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 cited was the Yellowstone franchise. Among the respondents who had ever watched Yellowstone, 70% also watched at least one of creator Taylor Sheridan’s other shows (1883, 1923, Tulsa King, or Mayor of Kingstown). And there was efforst involed in doing so: Yellowstone is only on 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,” said David Tice, senior consultant to Hub and study co-author. “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.” Rapid TV News

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