Premium content ophalen
  • Hub research found that five streamers, including Netflix and Disney+, have strong brand awareness.
  • Disney+ resonated with consumers for its kids programs, movies, and fantasy/supernatural content. 
  • Meanwhile, AVODs like Tubi and Pluto TV were seen as one “large, indistinguishable category.”

When HBO Max launched in the spring of 2020, confusion abounded among consumers. How was the subscription streaming service different from the flagship HBO cable outlet, or the HBO Go or HBO Now apps? What did “Max” include? Would “Friends,” which was produced by HBO corporate sibling Warner Bros. TV, be on the platform? Would HBO megahit “Game of Thrones”?

The explosion of new subscription video-on-demand services over the last three years has left streaming providers facing an uphill battle to make sure viewers are acquainted with their platforms. And amid a backdrop of major M&A activity that has prompted some services to rebrand and others to consolidate, that battle has become even more complicated.

In a February survey of over 1,600 American TV viewers between the ages of 16 and 74, research firm Hub found that at least 96% of those polled were aware of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, and HBO Max. (A pretty decent awareness rate for WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, given the furrowed eyebrows just two years ago.)

But fewer of those surveyed were able to pin down what made each streamer unique. Netflix, by far, inspired the most confidence, with 80% of respondents feeling assured they could describe the streamer’s brand to others. Nearly 70% could do that for Prime Video. Only two-thirds felt as though they could describe Disney+ or Hulu, and 58% felt the same about HBO Max.

NBCUniversal’s Peacock, Paramount’s Paramount+, and Apple TV+ fared even more poorly in that department, with half or fewer of those surveyed able to say what set those streamers apart.

Foto: Hub

The ad-supported free streaming services were generally one “large, indistinguishable category,” according to Hub’s researchers. Only 45% of respondents were able to describe what set Roku apart from its peers, and barely a third could do the same for Fox Entertainment’s Tubi, Paramount’s Pluto TV, and Amazon Studios’ IMDb TV.

Foto: Hub

“TV services have been ramping up their ad spending in recent years; in fact, the number of streaming service ad impressions more than doubled between 2019 and 2020,” said Hub principal Peter Fondulas, who co-authored the study. “As a result, virtually everyone has heard of most of the TV streamers in the market today. But those ad initiatives have not been nearly as successful in helping potential users understand why they should sign up for any given service.”

Disney+ seems to benefit from its parent’s brand DNA in terms of consumers knowing what to expect: 35% of those polled said the flagship Walt Disney-owned streamer had a strong focus on specific genres. That subset identified kids programming, movies from theaters, and fantasy/supernatural content as the service’s top genres.

Foto: Hub

Meanwhile, WarnerMedia’s move to release its entire Warner Bros. slate on HBO Max in 2021 appears to have made an impression: Among those who said HBO Max has a strong genre focus, 68% identified the streamer with movies that were originally released in theaters.

Foto: Hub

The news this week that HBO Max will ultimately combine with Discovery+ as WarnerMedia and Discovery merge might be a boon for the nascent reality-show service, but it could also create another head-scratcher for consumers.

Netflix’s first mover advantage following its launch in 2013 has made it the market’s dominant streaming player with over 220 million paying subscribers, while Disney+ since its late-2019 debut is catching up with nearly 130 million subscribers.

Other streamers, particularly those launched in the last few years, have had a rockier trajectory amid a crowded field of competitors. Paramount+ was rebranded a year ago from CBS All Access (parent company ViacomCBS in February became Paramount Global), while Apple TV+ has only just begun to distinguish itself with TV hits such as “Ted Lasso” and the Oscar-nominated film “CODA,” a contender for best picture at the Academy Awards.

Premium content ophalen