Streaming Services Have a ‘Recall’ Problem

The recent Apple TV+ ad with Timothée Chalamet.
The recent Apple TV+ ad with Timothée Chalamet.
Matthew Belloni
January 22, 2023

Have you seen that new Apple TV+ ad with Timothée Chalamet? The young star is bummed that he’s not part of its A-list programming, reminding everyone that Ted Lasso, projects from Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lawrence, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, Jason Momoa, and last year’s best picture winner, CODA, can or will soon be found on Apple TV+. Yes, Timmy keeps telling us, on Apple.

It’s a classic branding ad—you can almost hear Apple’s services guru Eddy Cue screaming like he’s courtside at a Warriors game: We’re Apple, dammit! Check out who we’re working with! Big f-ing stars, OK?! Not like those regular streaming services. And there’s data behind the specific messaging. As the second part of Puck’s streaming brand study reveals, consumers have a really tough time remembering where particular shows and movies are available, even if they have watched those shows and movies. It’s called “recall,” meaning how well people connect specific content to a specific platform, and it’s a big problem for these services as they try to distinguish themselves in a crowded market. 

Apple TV+, for instance, has some of the lowest brand affinity scores and recall rates among the streamers, despite being super-premium and connected to one of the most recognizable and admired brands on Earth, with the largest market cap. According to our survey, only 20 percent of respondents know Ted Lasso is on Apple TV+. That’s compared to, say, 50 percent who know that 1923 is on Paramount+, a very strong recall rate for a small-ish service. Keep in mind, Ted Lasso is the biggest hit show on Apple TV+, according to Nielsen, yet its recall rate is still low. That’s why Apple paid Chalamet more than it has ever paid a celebrity endorser (including athletes), according to a well-placed source: To help consumers make that specific connection.