Brand names

May 1, 2020
The Endemol and Shine brand names are gradually being removed through the back door.

It is now clear to everyone that the media world is fundamentally changing. The corona crisis deepens this development, because traditional television is increasingly coming under pressure from streaming video. It is nice to see how new brand names pop up left and right. We are now used to Google, YouTube, Facebook and all other digital giants, but many of those names are barely 10 years old. What is interesting is how traditional media companies are re-profiling themselves by choosing new names: new SVOD initiatives seldom have the name of the "old" parent company anymore.

RTL was the first to do this through the acquisition of Videoland, but that was still a coincidence because the name came along with an acquisition. Furthermore, new (marketing) thinking has taken hold everywhere, especially in the field of streaming services. ProSieben and Discovery launched Joyn, VTM and Telenet are coming with Streamz, the BBC and RTL have been back with Britbox a few years ago and Peacock, the new streaming service of mega company Comcast, is currently being launched.

However, it is also interesting that old brand names are going under. Who did not know Endemol and Shine? Endemol was the personification of the rise of the international television production companies. The company grew through a sophisticated global acquisition strategy. The companies that were taken over were almost immediately renamed Endemol: Endemol Italia originally saw the light of day under the name Aran, Endemol France as AFP and I can go on and on. Liz Murdoch's Shine grew more independently and opted for the Shine brand name in all countries where it invested. 21st Century Fox was a household name in film production and was also active in television. With sales of more than $ 20 billion, it was one of the majors that ruled the international media world.

All these illustrious names of yesteryear are thrown away by the new owners of these companies. After the takeover of Endemol and Shine (which has now become a single brand name), Banijay immediately decided to continue using the Banijay name. No half-hearted measures here, but equal clarity: the Endemol and Shine brand names are gradually being removed through the back door. Disney is going to do exactly the same with 21st Century Fox: the name Fox will be radically removed and it will also be a matter of time that channels that still carry the Fox name (especially the sports channels) will be renamed.

The major changes in the media world can also be seen in the brand names. Iconic brands are disappearing, new brand names are taking their place. The next phase is already coming: in the fight against the American streaming platforms, national media companies should be able to merge, as I mentioned in my previous column

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Bold predictions for 2023

Predicting the future of media is just like predicting the weather: the truth all too often overtakes the forecast. Last year, I made some tentative attempts to predict the future in a number of columns and - to my relief - those were more often right than wrong. That's why I've gained just enough confidence to look into the future again...

The first one is rather safe: AVOD is going to make a massive breakthrough this year. All major SVOD players are heading in that direction and eventually it will become roughly one-third of their revenue. Remarkably enough, VOD is starting to look more and more like commercial television in this way. Allowing advertisements on the platform used to be a taboo for Netflix a few years ago, but the market leader cannot avoid it, in a time when consumer purchasing power is so heavily affected. Co-market leader Disney is also going to embrace AVOD.

The next prediction is a more bold one. Currently, on-demand accounts for around 30% of the consumer viewing behaviour. I previously argued that the tipping point has already taken place and that the shift to on-demand viewing is going to accelerate significantly. I think major players like Amazon, Apple and Google will invest massively in sports rights, while DAZN will also stay very active. Sports are one of the mainstays for public -, commercial - and pay television: the above-mentioned trend will hit traditional television hard. At the end of 2023, more than half of the viewing time will be spent online, I think.

A few years ago, broadcasters took the initiative to cooperate more closely in order to withstand - in particular - the American Tech threat. I think this development will stop in 2023. Broadcasters have understood that they will have to protect their brand and that this is incompatible with common VOD activities. ITV has already launched ITVX in the UK and similar situations will emerge at local media companies in other countries. Salto and Britbox will gradually be suffocated in their own national market in the coming year.

The increase in scale of media companies will also be brought to a halt. There will be no more major mergers. Only in the production market there will still occasionally be a takeover, but mega deals like the Discovery - Warner merger are a thing of the past. 2023 will be the year of operational excellence. The merger plans of RTL and Talpa will falter because ACM is an obstacle. Thomas Raabe, the CEO of RTL and Bertelsmann, can forget about his dream deal in Germany, a merger between RTL and P7S1.

And finally: the growth will cease in the production market. The marketing efforts of VOD players dry up: the focus will shift from subscriber growth to profitability. The production market will decline by around 10% and will stabilize at that level. In and of itself, this already is fantastic news for producers, because this is still well above the market size of 5 years ago. There still glows a little hope because TikTok is going to invest in long-form content and YouTube will have to participate. Well, we'll see....

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Jonatan de Boer joins 3Rivers

Jonatan de Boer will join the 3Rivers team on 1 December 2022. Jonatan has been working in the Dutch media industry for more than 10 years and is a specialist in the field ofsocial media, online video and influencer marketing. He started the Dutch branch of Mediakraft, was managing director of the online branch of Medialane and led the tech startup Bird. Jonathan has specialized in social media analyses, online video productions and influencer marketing campaigns on all major socialmedia platforms. At 3Rivers he will mainly focus on media projects from a social media and online media perspective.

 

Oege Boonstra, partner 3Rivers: "We are pleased that Jonatan with his broad knowledge and experience in the field of social media will join our team. He has gained meaningful experience early in his career and can serve our clientele with a new service. He can demystify social media like no other and advise customers practically." Jonatan: "3Rivers is a wonderful company with a great reputation in the media, both nationally and internationally. I look forward to working with my new colleagues to achieve even more impact in the ever-changing media landscape."

 

3Rivers deals with strategic and organizational issues for media companies from an operational perspective. The company's consultants have all long-standing experience in the media world and have carried out projects all over the world with the aim of making media companies function more effectively.

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Has Apple fallen asleep?

Big Tech has turned the media industry upside down. Netflix and Amazon have brought about an unprecedented change in consumer viewing habits in long form content, after Google did the same with its YouTube on short form video. The share of streaming in consumer viewing time has grown at an alarming rate, and it may not be long before the tipping point is reached: consumers will inevitably watch more video online than on television.

Most media companies have long since woken up and embraced online video. Videoland, NPOStart, Streamz, Britbox, Disney +, HBO Max, Peacock, Joyn, Discovery+: so many initiatives have seen daylight. Disney's success is resounding and it looks like it could overtake market leader Netflix in the long run. Let's face it: the combination of the Fox and Disney catalog, the addition of Starz and so on, offer a wide catalog for the whole family. Disney even went so far as to put a large number of linear channels in the garbage bin.

Of the Big Tech companies, Amazon is the most adept at online video activities. It cleverly selects the territories where it wants to be present, packs the video offering into its Prime subscription service and also makes a number of very relevant acquisitions.  It gives Amazon the market leadership in Germany and strengthens its presence in the Netherlands. The acquisition of MGM was a surprising step and consumers will see the effects of it this summer: the entire James Bond catalog is being marketed smartly and will undoubtedly generate a series of new Prime subscribers.

In all that violence, one global player remains remarkably silent: Apple’s content businessis negligible. Apple TV+ does not appeal at all to the spoiled video consumer. The Morning Show, announced with much fanfare, is hardly watched outside the US and the adjacent video offering is also of poor quality.  Are they asleep in Cupertino?  I cannot imagine that, because Apple is an excellently run company. Apparently, however, management lacks knowledge in the field of content and therefore there seems to be only one logical stepforward. The analogy arises with Google, which tried to compete in online video with Google Video 15 years ago, but remained in a disappointing second position. The solution? The acquisition of market leader (and at the moment fiercely loss making) YouTube.

I had actually expected years ago that Apple had acquired Netflix, but after the unprecedented rally of the Netflix share (the price reached a peak of more than 700 dollars last year), that thought seemed unfeasible. But Netflix has landed back on earth and the stock is hovering around $170: surely the policymakers in Cupertino could think of this enticing thought again? The financing of this does not seem to be a problem for Apple. Or will they find the risk of investing in content too great and continue to navigate the current, extraordinarily successful business model (selling hardware with insanely easy software and wonderful user interface)?

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