By: Raul Cruz

Michael Fernández, vice president of marketing for V-Me Media, spoke over Zoom with the members of the Media Management Association about the importance of branding strategy in the increasingly competitive streaming space. Simply stated, branding refers to a company’s ability to create a unique identity for a product or service in the mind of the consumer. Fernández held previous positions with Viacom International Media Networks as senior manager in advertising and brand solutions for the Latin American market and with Sony Pictures Television as marketing manager in distribution and production, again, for the Latin American region. Currently, Fernández works with a portfolio of networks – V-Me, V-Me Kids, and Primo TV – reaching more than 25 million households across the United States.

As video streaming grows in popularity and becomes more competitive in the marketplace, streaming companies will need to pay more attention to how they position themselves. Fernández noted that the term “streaming wars” depends on the consumer’s decision to adapt or cut back on the number of streaming services currently available. Subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) companies are now fighting for “eyeballs.” He added that in a very congested streaming landscape, brand advocacy is very important for a service to gain potential success. For instance, he cited the success of Disney+ that has managed to develop a central hub for Star Wars and Marvel content.

During the presentation, Fernández discussed five key strategies for successful branding: (1) having a catalog of content, (2) remaining top of mind, (3) exploring niche audiences, (4) knowing platform experiences, and (5) analyzing data for user personalization. An example of the first strategy would be Disney+ offering content that people can easily recognize. Second,  Fernández suggested that Tiger King has enabled Netflix subscribers to associate the viral program with the service. As an example of the third branding strategy, Discovery is positioning its forthcoming niche Discovery+ service by holding back content that could be licensed to other platforms. Fourth, ViacomCBS rebranded CBS All Access as Paramount+ because the “Paramount” brand conveyed a higher level of awareness than CBS outside the United States. For Fernández, the data presentation strategy requires brands to invest in viewer measurement as much as they do in content creation.

Fernández concluded that the future of successful streaming deployment will rely on the power of bundling because companies will be able to give all the content they own a bigger push for consumer attention and interest. Current examples include Apple One and the Disney+/Hulu/ESPN+ bundles.

Raul Cruz is the Treasurer of the Media Management Association.