Reports Media & Marketing

Building Show Fandom in the Streaming Era

Report by Tim Mulligan
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The 20,000 Foot View:  The direct-to-consumer        video big bang moment is getting into stride, with Peacock and HBO Max following Apple TV+ and Disney+ into the already-congested video streaming marketplace. TV show marketing teams now face unprecedented competition for audience attention and mindshare. With the attention economy now moving into a post-peak phase, any streaming app is a mere finger-swipe away from being switched or even deleted. Meanwhile, discretionary subscription spending faces pressure from a possible future recession, forcing TV networks to double down on building fandom and engagement. In the era of fluid TV audiences, where engagement has to be earned and continually invested in to maintain, TV show brands are the ultimate weapons in the fight for audience share. Never has TV show brand marketing been so important.

Key Insights

  • Niche positioning empowers cultural movements around shows by leveraging fandom
  • The four pillars of video fandom are identity, attention, scarcity and wallet share
  • Identity: The unbundling of the linear schedule means that the identity facets of a show have now become central for viability in the streaming ecosystem
  • Attention: The biggest challenge facing all forms of media distribution in 2020 is the transition from peak attention to a post-peak attention environment
  • Scarcity: In the on-demand era, less is increasingly seen as more
  • Wallet share:        marketing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis for shows need to focus on wallet share
  • Awareness and fandom do not always directly correlate
  • TV show return on investment (ROI) needs to separate streaming from awareness and overall viewing
  • Translating buzz into streaming engagement is a key marketing objective
  • Niche is the new mainstream due to the fragmentation of audience viewing
  • Streaming hits are designed to be post-linear with consumption freed from the linear straitjacket

Companies and brands mentioned in this report:   Amazon Music, Amazon Prime Video, Apple Music, Apple, Apple TV+, AT&T, CBS, CBS All Access, Comcast, Disney, Disney+, ESPN+, HBO Now, Netflix, Spotify, Warner Media

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