Qualitative Data is a Quantitative Goldmine: Evaluating Consumer Sentiment Through Pathfinder Text Science

by MAi Research December 27, 2021

In our recent post exploring the streaming services marketplace, our open-ended text data revealed sharp differences in how consumers perceive the content provided by Disney+ and HBO Max:

Disney+ Content Associations (map detail) HBO Max Content Associations (map detail)

Note: When reading a Pathfinder Text ScienceTM 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.

In particular, Pathfinder Text ScienceTM shows the importance of the Marvel and Star Wars franchises for Disney+ and the Game of Thrones franchise for HBO Max — these three are by far the most prominent exclusive franchises noted by consumers.

But Pathfinder’s Text ScienceTM can tell us much more than how important a term is. While our approach is not sentiment-based, we are able to use word context to measure the relative positive or negative sentiment of each term on a scale of -100% to +100%, where 0% indicates a balanced sentiment.

Of course, if a term is used as much positively as it is negatively, it is not neutral, it is polarizing. And often these highly polarizing topics are the specific issues that a brand or product most needs to address.

 

 

Is Exclusive Content Polarizing?

Looking at the strongest exclusivity related terms for Disney+ reveals not only how prominent Marvel and Star Wars are for the service, but also that consumers have high positive sentiment for both franchises, and neither is particularly polarizing:

 

Pathfinder SentimentTM: Totally positive (+100%) vs. totally negative (-100%)
Pathfinder PolarizationTM: Consistent (0%) vs. highly polarized (+100%)

Disney’s “classic” content, it’s worth noting, is the only term with 100% positive sentiment and no polarization. And while sentiment is quite positive for both Marvel and Star Wars, some exclusivity terms are viewed more negatively; “exclusive” and “premium,” for example, have lower sentiment scores and are more polarizing for consumers. Why? It seems that some consumers may resent having to subscribe to a particular service to access a beloved franchise:

 “It makes you feel kind of forced to subscribe in order to understand the MCU [Marvel Cinematic Universe].” — Female, 18-24

“Disney is too powerful, too exclusive. They own so many franchises and guard them fiercely.” — Male, 25-35

But Polarizing to Who?

Pathfinder Text ScienceTM can also reveal differences in sentiment by subgroups. In this case our data indicates that Marvel’s attempts to broaden their audience are succeeding, with the franchise appealing equally to both men and women:

Star Wars, on the other hand, seems to have something of a “guy problem,” with male consumers being more polarized by the franchise than females. And while the backlash from some Star Wars fans to Disney’s stewardship isn’t news, our data suggests that male fans in particular are driving it. Unfortunately our research didn’t sample enough Jedi Knights, so their involvement must remain hypothetical at present.

To learn more about how MAi Research and Pathfinder Analytics work with clients to creatively address challenging business questions, please check us out online at www.mairesearch.com