As the streaming space gets more crowded, streamers have looked to win users by getting their brand in front of as many people as possible. According to iSpotTV, ad impressions for streaming services more than doubled between 2019 and 2020. Hub Entertainment Research data shows that awareness is almost universal, even for relatively new platforms, which proves this initial strategy has worked.
However, for many providers, there is a big gap between awareness and understanding. In fact, it is difficult for many consumers to explain how a platform is different from its competitors. Apple, for example, may be known as a master of brand communications, but fewer than half of respondents say they have a clear idea of what distinguishes Apple TV+ over alternatives.
According to Hub, with so many options, differentiation matters more than awareness when it comes to winning subscribers. One real-life example could be what HBO Max did in 2020, when it announced that Warner Brother’s slate of theatrical movies would be released on HBO Max the same day as theaters. This blew up the windowing paradigm, outraged many creatives, and incurred the wrath of the “Black Widow.” But it was hugely effective at drawing subscribers: Hub’s research showed a huge jump in HBO Max subs after this announcement. Even though these new movies made up a tiny fraction of the content on HBO Max, most new subscribers said they were a factor, or even the main reason, that they decided to sign up.
"Advertising and original content are not enough any more to differentiate streamers to consumers. Brand loyalty will come from building community and creating a must watch viewing experience," commented Jon Giegengack, Founder and Principal at Hub Entertainment Research.
Advertising and original content are not enough any more to differentiate streamers to consumers” Jon Giegengack Founder and Principal at Hub Entertainment Research