Our latest brand tracking study of over 45,000 consumers reveals Netflix is, yet again, the No. 1 Most Loved Media Brand of 2023.
Having practically invented video streaming in 2007, Netflix dominated the market for many years and, as a result, was in the position to command premium pricing.
But with other household names such as Prime Video and Disney+ encroaching on its territory (and with lower subscription fees), Netflix naturally assumed the ‘premium’ position, which put the cost-conscious consumers off.
In H1 2022, the streaming giant’s share price plummeted in tandem with a loss of 1.2 million subscribers.
But despite a bleak businesses performance, Netflix still managed to take the No. 1 spot as the UK’s most loved media brand that same year. Not just the favourite across all generations, but consumers also ranked it highest for being ‘desirable’, ‘exciting’, and for ‘people like me’.
Jump forward a year; what happened?
After a long period of proudly boasting its ad-free viewing status Netflix finally bit the bullet and announced a tiered ‘with ads’ pricing structure in November last year. With 7 million new subscribers in Q4 and limited evidence of existing customers downgrading, it seems that the offer to buy into the brand at a lower price is paying off.
Data from BrandVue Media illustrates that consumer perceptions of Netflix’s pricing were briefly under strain but began showing signs of recovery following the launch of its tiered subscription offer. It has dipped back since, but we’ll return to that later.
Netflix has retained its No. 1 spot as the UK’s most loved media brand, holding a healthy lead over its nearest direct rival, Disney+. But the long-term trajectory of that shows the gap is narrowing.
As recently as the first quarter of this year, our data shows that Netflix continues to lead on brand associations such as being ‘for people like me’, ‘exciting’ and ‘on-trend’. But these are beginning to show signs of falling back. The same is true for Disney+, although to a lesser extent.
So, will Netflix continue to rule the roost?
It is still the UK’s most loved media brand, but its ability to maintain that position remains under threat. Netflix has made efforts to adapt its model to meet oncoming market pressures, which has yielded success. However, in doing so, this meant clamping down on password sharing to safeguard its revenue – something Netflix has historically turned a bit of a blind eye to. What it’s given with one hand, to some extent, it’s taken away with the other.
Perhaps that explains why we’ve seen perceptions of ‘attractive pricing’ drop away again of late. Moreover, they’ve cancelled a number of popular original series like 1899 and Inside Job, sparking outrage amongst loyal fans. It’s understandable that all of this may have caused confusion for Netflix customers over the last 6 months or so.
Netflix’s evolving strategies, coupled with discontinuing a host of beloved series, may have aroused a sense of uncertainty and confusion amongst subscribers. If your favourite show is no longer available – is the subscription really worth it?
Now, Netflix will face the challenge of convincing the hesitant consumers to stay.
Perhaps they will take a similar approach to NOW TV, and present exclusive and personalised deals to subscribers who are attempting to cancel their subscription. These deals could take the form of discounted rates, or content bundles tailored to the consumer’s preferences.
Or maybe Netflix will explore new ways to enhance the overall user experience, such as introducing features that are innovative and distinctive – ones which other streaming services are yet to offer. For example, producing more shows like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, where viewers were able to choose the outcome of the episode – an interactive and immersive experience, which is relatively unique in comparison with the rest of the market. By nature, when you’re at the top, there’s only really one direction you can head. It may be that the dust needs to settle, but Netflix still has its work cut out to hold on to its crown.
With all that said, we’ve still got the next instalment of Stranger Things to look forward to, assuming we don’t lose patience between now and 2024 when it’s expected to be released.
Or might we expect another surprise announcement about that?
To find out more about Brand Love and what it means for the media industry, download our latest report for free here, which includes the full list of the Top 100 Most Loved Media Brands in the UK.