Commentary

When It Comes To Streaming, Consumers Haven't A Clue

To paraphrase Bob Dylan, something is happening here, but a lot of people apparently don’t know what is. 

A new study from the Colorado consumer insights firm iModerate determined that consumers might like Netflix best of all of of the “top three streaming brands.”

But that might be because it’s the one whose mission they best understood.

It’s interesting this study comes from a consumer insights firm because often in studies of consumers--that basically means “You”--it turns out consumers don’t have many insights at all. But that lack of insight is golden information in itself.

For example, this study shows consumers know that Hulu is useful for streaming old TV shows, but few know that movies are available too--who knew? In fact, according to this study, 14% don’t know what in the hell Hulu is good for, at all. Three major content creators -- Disney, NBCUniversal and Fox -- that own Hulu took years to figure out what to do with it. They only hit on a good idea this year: Create lots of premium content, charge for it, and still carry commercials.  Brilliant, probably.

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And Amazon Prime! So here’s a perfectly fine streaming service run by the current most-renowned online retailer this side of Alibaba, and you know what? A lot of people who get Amazon Prime apparently don’t know they do, and 23% think the major benefit of having Amazon Prime is free shipping.

Which is what Amazon Prime does provide, along with Amazon Prime Instant Video. 

But along with that convenience is a content service with its own roster of very good shows--”Transgender” and the new, brilliant, “Catastrophe” among them. You can also easily access Netflix and lots of other content via Amazon Instant Video, by the way.

I know from writing about Amazon that I often wonder what in the hell to call it. In the last couple paragraphs I’ve made reference “Amazon” in three different ways referring to the same product.  That’s crazy. 

You might subscribe to Amazon Prime Instant Video, but it would be a lot better if it was called something less cumbersome and more distinct.

I don’t know, a brand that ends with “ON” should be able to work out something.

Netflix, meanwhile keeps it simple. People know what it is, and 20% of 2,500 respondents said that they could see Netflix replacing their other content-spewing services, like cable or satellite. . Twenty percent won’t even win a Republican presidential primary this year, but clearly people like and trust Netflix. It is a friendly disrupter. But it still has work to do.

Clarity means something, and so does spelling out exactly why a brand exists. Elsewhere on MediaPost, you’ll read about Facebook creating a new advertising platform that will serve willing users bunches of videos they think they’ll like and put advertising in between that is also coordinated like that. There’s a sharp revenue model it will be interesting to watch.

It’s a smart way to engage consumers, for sure, but if you’re coming to Facebook, isn’t it primarily to engage with friends, not to view several minutes of content from a NewsFeed? I think, ultimately, it is. But Facebook now serves four billion videos a day, and is growing rapidlly, and for some news organizations and to holy BuzzFeed, it’s becoming the go-to place. People understand it, even as it is changing.


pj@mediapost.com

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