Media companies have locked horns before with Netflix over a lack of branding on their own programming while Netflix Original Series are always clearly marked.
The battle of the brand, it would seem, is turning. ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder” now features a four-second snippet displaying the ABC logo prominently alongside an image of star Viola Davis.
This may seem like a small concession from Netflix, but the company has long preferred to keep content unbranded, following in the tradition of reruns played on live television. But with increased pressure to compete with Amazon Prime, Hulu, and network-specific streaming services, Netflix has had to come to some tough decisions regarding branding.
Is Netflix Becoming a Branding Vehicle?
Although Netflix is still struggling to define what a network-independent streaming service should be, television brands see an opportunity to promote still-running shows using the platform. Netflix won’t automatically approve any promotion request, but it is becoming more open to the idea.
“Netflix is a valued distributor that now provides robust cross-promotional opportunities for our networks and our series,” a Disney/ABC group TV spokesman told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s a win-win for both sides.”
Some of those opportunities currently in use include the four-second promo for “How to Get Away with Murder” and title cards that include the original network’s logo. Networks are hoping to push their foot in the branding door even further, dreaming of a day that Netflix will allow users to search for programming by network, as well as by actor or title.
Increased Pressure From Networks
With increased pressure from networks opening their own services and making new original content harder to acquire, Netflix may find that submitting to a small branding effort is well worth the cost. If networks can see Netflix as a branding vehicle instead of as a competitor to live television, it could lead to a consolidation of streaming services.
This continued relationship could potentially help everyone, both by giving customers sure-fire places to look for their favorite media without having to subscribe to several costly services and by allowing networks to get back to focusing their efforts on producing quality programming, rather than trying to run their own streaming services in order to optimize their reach and cash flow.