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Brand Identity and Multiplatform Streaming Apps

How important is maintaining brand identity and differentiation in streaming UX and app design, and how critical, or even possible or advisable, is it to sustain a consistent look and feel across different platforms? And how crucial is branding in the overall fan experience, or building a fan base for the content associated with your brand? Nadine Krefetz, Consultant, Reality Software, Contributing Editor, Streaming Media, discusses this topic with James Lauzun, Chief Product Officer, MagellanTV, Esther Ahn, Head of User Experience, YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime Channels, and Tom Hurlbutt, Senior Director of Product Management, Crunchyroll, in this clip from Streaming Media Connect 2024.

Krefetz says, to the group, “When you talk about your brand, how do you differentiate the brand that you have versus the UX you have on any particular platform? And keep them specific to what you're working on? Because obviously, an Apple TV is different than an Android phone.”

Lauzun says that Magellan isn’t going for the same look and feel on every platform. “To better aid that user experience, you want your app to feel like it was built for that platform,” he says. “That user knows how to use their remote. So, we need to make sure that we support the platform in the way that it intends to be used. Also, platforms often make you do this (LG-like) magic wand pointer system. You have to be able to support that. So I think we can aid in communications and help our viewers use our products by trying not to preserve an identical experience, but instead preserve the design identity, but not necessarily the same specific experience.”

Krefetz says to Ahn that YouTube has both a corporate brand but that it is also heavily customizable for individuals, and she wonders how they approach these dynamics.

“Our umbrella brand is YouTube, and our global mission is to give everyone a voice,” Ahn says. “And that translates to how we are meeting our viewers' needs and expectations around the different types of content they want to watch. People come in with different expectations. Those that want to watch live on-demand movies, shows, and sports. And so we're always trying to figure out how to offer those experiences so viewers can easily find what they want to watch while also being able to discover new types of content. As you can imagine, there are a lot of different ways to watch, from long-form to short-form content. Right now, we have a platform with YouTube where you can get really amazing user-generated content, gaming, music, and all different types of verticals. And then, we have YouTube TV, which is our standalone live TV streaming service. We found that the subscribers coming to YouTube TV are coming for the content and the features we offer. We bring increased interactivity and personalization to live content. And so this is something that has been of interest and value to a lot of users coming onto the platform.”

Krefetz asks, “In terms of a brand visually or the philosophy, how does YouTube TV stand out as opposed to YouTube? Because they're obviously two different kinds of environments.”

“Our tenet is that we have a design system that crosses both,” Ahn says. “We don't want to create any confusion for viewers just trying to use some playback controls. You might want to fast forward, you might want to pause, but how do you purchase? And so a lot of that is shared across a design system. We believe that's really important because it's focused on creating consistent experiences for our viewers. There are obviously areas where we'll deviate in some parts, and I think we're always looking at each individual journey and what people are trying to accomplish, but also create something so it feels part of one system.”

Krefetz asks Hurlbutt, “How are you differentiating when you present to the consumer? [As in], this is Crunchyroll versus this is a particular program?”

Hurlbutt says that Crunchyroll focuses on facilitating fandom and deepening fans' connection with their specific interests. “They come because they have a deep connection to the universe and the IP in and of itself,” he says. “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 to allow our fans to really connect deeply with their specific universe. In terms of our flywheel, we invest heavily in being able to bring in items that are adjacent to the content itself, whether it's manga, whether it's merchandising, whether it's theatrical so that our fans really see Crunchyroll as a way to be able to truly deepen their connection and their engagement with the content. Rather than trying to be something for everyone, [we are] trying to be everything for someone, where [they] feel like Crunchyroll allows them to be the true fan that they are.”

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.

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