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The Struggle for Brand Identity Across Multiplatform Streaming Apps

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A new study from Hub Entertainment Research shows that viewers are still chasing shows rather than specific streaming brands, which poses challenges for programming providers looking to create a consistent brand identity across various platforms. James Lauzun of MagellanTV and Tom Hurlbutt of Crunchyroll also addressed this issue during a recent Streaming Media Connect 2024 session, "Mind the App: Streaming UX Design Best Practices."

The Hub Entertainment Research study, “The Evolution of Video Branding,” showed that the option-heavy streaming ecosystem has made it challenging for viewers to differentiate between platforms. While there is a large-scale awareness of the major streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video, consumers are not clear on what differentiates them.

“As big streamers aim to be all things for all people, viewers are struggling to identify what distinguishes them from each other,” says Jason Platt Zolov, consultant for Hub.  “Until streamers develop more brand-defining features, viewer loyalty is at risk, and consumers will continue to churn as they chase shows across services.”

However, the aftereffects of the strikes and decreasing content budgets may be reducing consumers' tendencies to sign up for a service to watch one show, which is reflected in the drop in respondents in 2024 who said they signed up for a service only for one show.

One exception is Peacock, which saw an increase in the number of people who signed up to watch a specific show. The Hub Research survey was conducted after the NFL playoffs when many signed up for Peacock to watch the Chiefs/Dolphins game.  

The difficulties of solidifying brand identity are even more pressing for newer or lower-profile platforms. Some brands, such as MagellanTV, have adapted to whichever platform is used rather than maintaining a consistent design.

“How we look at it is abandoning the idea that Magellan will look and feel the same way on every platform," says James Lauzun, Chief Product Officer, MagellanTV. "It's too hard now. There's too many platforms, and, to better aid that user experience, you want your app to feel like it was built for that platform. I think we can aid in communications and help our users by trying not to preserve an identical experience, but instead preserve the design identity, but not necessarily the same specific experience.”

Tom Hurlbutt, Senior Director of Product Management, Crunchyroll, says their primary focus is facilitating fandom. “They come because they have a deep connection to the universe’s IP in and of itself. They are very much connected to the stories, the characters, the sequences, the action, the music, and everything around that. And where Crunchyroll comes in is being that facilitator of fandom.” Their aim, he says, is to be more content-adjacent rather than platform-adjacent, which is a more organic approach for their users. “Rather than trying to be something for everyone, [we are] trying to be everything for someone, where [they] feel like the Crunchyroll allows them to be the true fan that they are.”

View an excerpt of “Mind the App: Streaming UX Design Best Practices” from Streaming Media Connect 2024:

See videos of the full program from Streaming Media Connect February 2024 here.

We'll be back in person for Streaming Media NYC May 20-22, 2024. More details here.

Graphics courtesy of Hub Entertainment Research.

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