Brand associations for Netflix to grow by the day: Experts  

Partnerships like Netflix’s latest association with OnePlus for ‘Sacred Games’ will help in building a brand positioning, say industry experts 

e4m by Anjali Thakur
Published: May 15, 2019 8:29 AM  | 4 min read
Saif Ali Khan

It has been three years since Netflix entered the country and the platform is gaining prominence by the day. From digital media to hoardings on public highways across Indian metros, the entertainment company has been doing everything to catch the eye of the Indian viewer. 

Netflix has teamed up with telecom partners, category influencers and local creative talent to put together a brand that caters to diverse audience interests. The brand’s most recent partnership with smartphone brand OnePlus has been much talked about. 

Netflix has released two posters for the second season of the hit-series ‘Sacred Games’. Both posters have been shot from OnePlus 7 Pro and feature the two central characters of the series – Sartaj Singh (Saif Ali Khan) and Ganesh Gaitonde (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). The association has been based on the common philosophy of community and member-first approach. 

Netflix has also shot a behind-the-scenes video using the phone. Jerome Bigio, Director-Partner Marketing, APAC, Netflix, said, “Through devices like the OnePlus 7 Pro, consumers increasingly are able to enjoy an amazing viewing experience on Netflix. We are thrilled to celebrate the epic fandom of Sacred Games with posters and a behind-the-scenes video shot on the OnePlus 7 Pro." 

Vikas Agarwal, General Manager, OnePlus India said in a press statement: “OnePlus continues to look for innovative ways to engage and bring unique experiences to our community. We are excited to partner with Netflix and Sacred Games Season 2 to creatively showcase the impressive capabilities of OnePlus 7 Pro. We can’t wait to unveil more about the product and the partnership at the launch event.” 

In India, the brand took its time to hook onto the country’s diverse viewing preferences. Netflix used influencers to address viewers and promote different categories of content - the Narcos show for instance used Tanmay Bhat of AIB and actor Rajkummar Rao. TV actor Alok Nath and stand-up comic Biswa Kalyan Rath promoted House of Cards for the platform.

The Reed Hastings-led company has announced a bunch of tie-ups, the prominent ones being output and co-production deals with Phantom (production house co-owned by Anurag Kashyap) and Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chilies Entertainment.

We spoke to brand experts on how collaborations like these help a brand, what kind of brands should they associate with and how to stay ahead of the competition from homegrown platforms.

According to brand expert Harish Bijoor, “For an OTT player, the best brand partnerships happen with mobile handset brands. It’s simple. Mobile handsets are the purveyors of everything digital, everything irreverent and everything cutting edge as far as the young are concerned. A partnership such as this for an OTT offering is a great one. Symbiotic for sure.”  

According to Saurabh Uboweja of Brands of Desire, the Indian OTT market has been projected to reach $5 billion by 2023. “The growth of OTT is synergistic with the growth of the smartphone industry and with a strong correlation to the higher speed and lower cost of Internet. At the top end, there are premium outliers like Netflix just like Apple and OnePlus Pro in the case of smartphones, who will always end up having highly aspirational brands even though their market share may remain less than 5-10 per cent. Therefore, for Netflix, brand associations will naturally incline towards premium and aspirational brands. They may do fewer partnerships as compared to YouTube, Amazon Prime, Hotstar or Zee5, but they will still accomplish their objective of a premium sharply defined positioning.”

With over 148 million paid memberships in over 190 countries, the internet entertainment service has TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Jagdeep Kapoor of Samsika Marketing Consultants says brand partnerships are going to just increase for the entertainment service brand. 
“The trend of brands like Netflix partnering with other strong brands, in this space, is going to grow. With the popularity of series like Sacred Games growing, brand partnerships are going to zoom. The choice of brand partnerships would depend on the core values and personality of the two brands. Regarding competition, since this category is in a nascent phase, all have got a great scope to grow,” Kapoor added. 

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