New research from Viacoms Global Consumer Insights unit shows that a heavy majority of viewers aged 12 to 34 prefer watching programming with on-screen channel logos, as opposed to programming on plain, logo-free screens.
The findings counter the widespread assumption that streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu are eroding traditional TV brands, with millennials and Gen Y viewers eager to disregard the channel identity as they seek out what to watch. Many stakeholders in TV have also predicted a future in which the brands of individual shows are superior to the 20th century concept of a network brand filter.
With the help from a research agency, Viacom conducted a blind test of nearly 3,000 12-34s in the U.S. and UK, presenting them with video the company told them was part of a new and yet-unnamed on-demand platform. The company said the setup “had the look, feel and functionality of a regular service featuring premium content from across the media landscape.” Half of the survey respondents seeing logos and half the logo-free images, and then both groups were shown both versions side by side. In the end, 84% of respondents preferred the programming with logos.
The notion of channels serving as curators of programming is embedded in Viacoms current overall strategy as it continues to pursue a turnaround. Since taking the helm of the company two years ago, CEO Bob Bakish has led a re-orientation of the companys efforts around six flagship networks — BET, MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and the Paramount Channel — with the theory that it makes sense to focus company resources on core brands.
Exploring the viewers reasons for preferring logos, Viacoms study found that viewers in favor of logos thought the interface was better designed, more innovative, had better discovery and had “more current, desirable content.”
The difference was especially notable among 12-to-17-year-olds, the company said. As a group, 74% of 12-17s favored the platform with channel logos, versus 66% who viewed the platform without channel logos.