Streaming Services Deep Dive… | The Brand Strength Monitor / RDE Chart of the Week | Pre/Post Pandemic Penetration and Usage

June 22nd, 2021 Comments off

In our last Chart of the Week we started looking at the Subscription Video Streaming Services category and specifically the pandemic winner – HBO Max.  This week we’re taking a deep dive and examining the Pre/Post Pandemic Penetration and Usage by demographics.

The MSW TBSM tracking service measures category penetration and level of usage as one component of the survey.  A comparison of results taken before the beginning of the pandemic to a comparable assessment from May 2021 reveals explosive growth in the Subscription Streaming Video Services category.

  • Overall, category penetration increased from 75.4% to 86.6%, which represents a 15% increase.  Moreover, claimed heavy usage increased by over half during the pandemic, from 18.5% before the outbreak to 29.2% in May 2021.  Clearly, as a result of spending much more time at home during the pandemic, people were turning to video entertainment.


  • Those demographic groups which have seen particularly large gains include:
    • Women, with heavy usage of streaming video services more than doubling.
    • Age 55 Plus, which had the lowest pre-pandemic penetration, but closed the gap substantially, reaching penetration of 70% in the latest reading.
    • Below Median Income, clearly also looking for entertainment options and perhaps enticed by some of the newer services, particularly lower cost “basic” plans.


  • Clearly these results are consistent with the surge in subscription levels reported by the major subscription streaming video services for 2020:
    • Netflix added 37 million new subscribers worldwide in 2020 – easily the largest annual increase since expanding into video streaming 14 years ago.
    • Hulu added 9 million new subscriptions, a 29.6% year-over-year increase.
    • While Disney+ debuted with very strong numbers pre-pandemic, growth continued to surge through the pandemic. The service hit 100 million subscribers in March 2021; a remarkable feat for a service just over a year old which initially hoped to reach 60 to 90 million subscribers by 2024.
    • At the end of the first quarter of 2021, HBO and HBO Max totaled 44.2 million domestic subscribers – far exceeding the 33.1 million subscribers a year ago (before HBO Max).


While subscriber growth is seen to be slowing with the easing of the pandemic, it is clear the pandemic accelerated the trend toward the use of streaming services, particularly among those groups which had been slower to adopt the technology.


| The Brand Strength Monitor / RDE Chart of the Week | HBO MAX: Pandemic Winner

June 9th, 2021 Comments off

MSW’s RDE Analytic Framework rests on a study that found that three equity dimensions (Relevance, Differentiation, Emotion) are responsible for driving a significant portion of brand growth. The RDE composite strongly relates to – and helps explain – CCPreference which itself is a validated predictor of market share.

Comparing RDE Assessment taken before the pandemic to comparable assessment from May 2021 reveals one brand in the Subscription Video Streaming Services category that has emerged as a winner – HBO Max.

  • HBO Max was launched in May 2020 well after the COVID pandemic was underway. It essentially replaced the previous HBO streaming service, HBO Now, but with a huge amount of new content from a variety of WarnerMedia brands.
  • Despite RDE levels being generally depressed as a result of the pandemic, HBO Max RDE levels easily surpass HBO Now pre-pandemic levels.
    • HBO Max easily outstrips HBO Now on all three RDE dimensions.
    • HBO Max is particularly strong in terms of relevance meaning that SVOD consumers feel that the HBO Max service is for someone like them.

  • HBO Max also far exceeds HBO Now in terms of CCPreference – the percent of consumers preferring HBO Max over competitors in the subscription streaming services category. This suggests that HBO Max should be performing well in the marketplace. How has it done?
  • HBO Max’s strength is its large and varied TV and movie catalog. In addition, Warner Brothers has been releasing its 2021 movies on HBO Max simultaneous with the theatrical release which has proven very popular.
    • At the end of the first quarter of 2021, HBO and HBO Max totaled 44.2 million domestic subscribers – far exceeding the 33.1 million subscribers a year ago (before HBO Max).
    • A report from Reelgood indicated HBO’s share of streaming activity rose from 2.0% in Q1 of 2020 (pre-HBO Max) to 12% in Q4 2020, placing HBO Max ahead of Disney+ and behind only Netflix, Prime Video and Hulu.
  • This success – mirrored by extremely strong CCPreference growth – has come despite a soft launch which slowly added support for many popular streaming devices, the COVID pandemic and accompanying economic downturn, and ever-increasing competition in the streaming video space.

The RDE composite is strongly related to brand preference in this category, with a correlation of 0.96

Delivering Predictive Brand Growth in an Age of Continuous Disruption

March 26th, 2021 Comments off


There once was a day when the equity and health of brands were stable.  Brand teams could expect that the fundamental performance of the category and the competitive set changed little on a short-term basis.  Category reviews and brand tracking research reinforced this perspective as the numbers typically saw limited, significant change on even an annual basis.

Those days are gone.  The so-called ‘new normal’ is an environment of continuous disruption.

Global pandemics, elimination of cookies for performance measurement, massive fragmentation of media, rapid growth in DTC brands, wide-spread product access with corresponding expansion of consumer choices, and real-time content generation are among just a few of the many factors now disrupting market categories and creating continuous uncertainty for brands.

This growth in uncertainty means brand growth is at risk.  MSW exists to address this need.


Basic Research

MSW has found that brand metrics must be more sensitive than ever and be collected more reliably than ever to capture the insights into market changes.  But the need does not stop there.  Brand metrics must have a tight enough validity to actual brand performance as time becomes an opportunity cost that brand teams cannot afford.  No time for examining ‘ghost’ findings. No time to scrap marketing plans for complete do-overs.  Any marketing research must support a fast turnaround and exploration of many potential ideas with a rigorous understanding of market context.

Working with hundreds of brands across many categories, we have found that all brands share one thing in common.  Branding requires continuous, meticulous attention across the entire go-to-market process.  MSW clients have worked with us as partners to establish an approach to deliver to this need within the ‘new normal’, disruptive environment.


MSW’s Predictive Brand Growth Framework™

MSW’s Predictive Brand Growth Framework™ is a process of connected, proven and sales-validated metrics and in-depth diagnostic measures that delivers a balanced approach to insights and aligns with each stage of your brand development cycle.

Utilizing MSW’s Patented, independently certified, sales-validated measures of CCPreference™, CCPersuasion™ and Customer Acquisition Forecast™, it is the most accurate, proven and independently validated approach to identifying short-term sales and long-term equity for your brand.

STEP 1 – Foundation & Purpose

The first step in MSW’s Predictive Brand Growth Framework™ is Foundation & Purpose, which establishes the building blocks for brand growth; a complete understanding of the customer, category, brand, how they interact and strategic direction that will yield the highest brand growth. Learn more about this solution set.

STEP 2 – Targeting & Positioning

We support targeting and positioning with a process for classifying customers by their behavior, needs, wants, and desires and narrowing in on the those that represent the highest brand growth potential.  Then we identify actionable, brand messaging elements to achieve that potential. Learn more about this solution set.

STEP 3 – Screening & Development

Our approach to screening and development is The ONLY advertising development system that predicts the likelihood and magnitude of ad impact on future sales volume and market share.  We evaluate advertising from early-stage concept to fully finished executions of ALL touch points. Our methodology captures the “lifts” in brand preference from exposure to advertising or other brand communication.  This patented methodology has been validated to actual business results more than any other advertising measurement in the industry.  Learn more about this solution set.

STEP 4 – Modeling & Forecasting

To make all this actionable, we have built more than 50 years of experience into our patented Outlook®; an agile platform that enables scenario based learning and iterative what-if analysis to determine optimum customer acquisition, ad flighting, channel selection and media allocation. Learn more about this solution set.

STEP 5 – Tracking & Feedback

Once in-market, a suite of customizable tracking capabilities enables brands to measure advertising performance through brand equity tracking, made unique by our use of MSW’s Brand Preference as the one primary aggregate measure that is proven and validated to match in-market brand share.  Other KPI’s collected triangulate to this single trusted measure and lend to the reliability and insights.  These techniques capture advertising and environmental impact on brand preference and other KPIs while also identifying drivers of and barriers to preference changes across the competitive set.   And our unique and proven “TRIGGER ANALYTICS” technique powers an early warning system and separates true shifts from random noise.  Learn more about this solution set.

Contact us today to discuss it with one our senior executives.

Or visit our website to learn more.