While many of the popular streaming services may add a plus to their name, adding the + symbol may not really provide a bonus to the overall business.
Starting next year, Epix will rename its service to MGM+, a nod to its parent company, which was purchased by Amazon for $8.45 billion in March.
"MGM is one of the most iconic and beloved brands from the golden age of entertainment," MGM+ head Michael Wright said in a release. "This rebrand is a promise to existing and new viewers that MGM+ is the place to find television that reflects and celebrates the legacy of the iconic MGM brand — cinematic programming with sophisticated storytelling that entertains, delights, surprises, and transports. MGM is television for movie lovers."
In a similar vein, Lionsgate rebranded its international streaming service Starzplay to Lionsgate+ and launched in the UK and Canada on Thursday.
"I suspect rebrands do more to generate press coverage than they do to help any underlying business," said Ross Benes, Insider Intelligence senior analyst.
With so many streaming services out there, there's increasingly less time for audiences to focus — and less desire to pay — for an additional service. People already use about seven services a month, paying for about four of them, according to Horowitz Research. But as inflation causes people to rethink their budgets, more audiences are shifting towards free ad-supported television (FAST). Standalone streaming platform Epix Now, which is not ad-supported, costs about $5.99 monthly.
The move to relaunch a business under a different name is a well-known strategy to build buzz for a brand. But without real reinvention, it doesn't provide more than a fleeting marketing moment. Benes pointed out that Amazon's IMDb Freedive was renamed IMDb TV and IMDb Freevee, and said, "Three names haven't helped it become more than a miniscule part of Amazon's video ambitions."
"Renaming a service to be 'company name+' is a convenient, albeit cliché, way to tether consumer perception of a streaming product to its company's name," he added. "But I don't expect the renaming to have a tangible impact on how popular these streamers are."
What may be a smarter strategy to boost Epix/MGM+ subscribers is to give it a little bit more support from its parent company Amazon. While several new original shows were greenlit for the service, including "Hotel Cocaine," "Belgravia: The Next Chapter," and an untitled Amityville Murders docuseries, it still hasn't been integrated well into Amazon's main streaming product Prime Video, which receives the most attention.
"MGM+ and Lionsgate+ sit in the same streaming stratosphere as Showtime and AMC+," Benes said. "They can garner a nice little subscriber base. But their reach is limited and nowhere as vast as the top six streamers. Their potential may be best realized by combining to boost a more established streamer."