Qualitative Data is a Quantitative Goldmine: Comparing Consumers’ Brand Perceptions with Text Science

by MAi Research November 11, 2021

In our first post on this topic we shared some initial insights from recent research we conducted on the highly competitive video streaming services marketplace — insights gained primarily from open-ended text data via our proprietary Text Science methodology. We also explained some of the problems with current methods of analyzing unstructured text, why a solution matters, and how our methods unlock insights using both text and closed-ended data.

At last week’s Quirk’s New York conference we shared some of these results with a standing-room only audience to showcase our approach and the type of learnings it can deliver.

In this post we’ll dig further into our streaming services data with a closer look at Pathfinder’s text synopsis analysis, which quantifies the relative importance of specific words and phrases used by consumers, making it easy to compare text data across subgroups.


How ‘Exclusivity’ Differs for HBO Max and Disney+:

In our last post we noted that consumer perceptions of the Disney+ streaming service tend to focus on its content, particularly its exclusive film content in the form of the Marvel and Star Wars franchises as well as Disney’s library of classic films. This suggests that Disney+ already has a strong identity that appeals to both modern and ‘old-fashioned’ tastes.

“Disney is so rich and unique. They have the money and spend it well. They invest a lot in their Star Wars and Marvel series.” — Male, 18-24

“Disney has classics that I share with my grandchildren. It’s timeless. I don’t have to worry about the content, it’s family-friendly.” — Male, 18-24

Consumers also associate competing streamer HBO Max with its exclusive content, though for different reasons. When we compare consumer perceptions of these two services side-by-side, we see that while movies is a key term on both maps, the range of words and phrases associated with it differs significantly:

Note: When reading a Pathfinder Text Science map, the size of a word reflects its overall importance to the data set; its proximity to other words shows the strength of the association between them; and its color reflects its connection to the map’s main themes.

It’s clear that both services are strongly identified with providing movies, but in the case of Disney+ these movies tend to belong to their key franchises (Marvel and Star Wars), while for HBO Max there’s a much stronger focus on new releases in particular, possibly due to HBO’s Same Day Premiers feature which offers streaming access to a limited slate of new releases:

“New movies start the same day as in theaters, so you can stay home and watch brand new movies.” — Male, 55-64

Both services, then, are associated with exclusive content, but in very different ways. To better understand this distinction, we refer to our text synopsis output, which provides the numbers behind every word and phrase on the map, including their usage frequency, importance, sentiment and polarization.

So, the easiest way to directly compare consumer perceptions of Disney+ and HBO Max is to directly compare their text synopses:

Rank: Term rank based on prevalence
Prevalence: Term prominence in data vs. typical usage

It’s now clear that perceptions of both brands are heavily impacted by their exclusive content (the highlighted terms above), particularly their movies, which is the most prominent term on both maps. Indeed, the top 3 terms on each map are related to exclusive content, reinforcing how strong the perception of exclusivity is for these two services.

So rather than comparing subgroups by squinting at text maps and trying to figure out which word is bigger, this output cleanly and clearly spells out the numbers behind the letters.

And tells us, for example, that consumers are nearly twice as focused on Marvel as a Disney+ franchise than they are on Star Wars.

Stay tuned for next week’s post to understand more about what to do with this information to drive more impactful business decisions.

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