First there is e.
Then came I.
The time now is.
With the proliferation of streaming platforms, the plus sign has become a versatile marker signaling hourly shows on demand.
Plus-sign streaming services include ESPN + (starting 2018), Apple TV + (2019), Disney + (2019), BET + (2019), AMC + (2020) and Discovery + (2021) . On Wednesday, streaming hit its peak, with ViacomCBS rebranding to Unlimited CBS. The company decided to call it Paramount +.
A ticking the name of a famous studio can be a very effective way to let customers know that the platform offers movies and a few other things. Or it could be “a disaster,” said Mike Carr, co-founder of branding company NameStormers.
“The plus is a great idea in the short term and a terrible idea in the long run,” said Carr, who helped create a name for thousands of customers, including CarMax, a used auto company. and Angry Orchard, the hard-to-label cider.
“Great The current“, Mr. Carr continued,” but you cannot own or define a generic term like ‘plus’, because all of your competitors do the same thing. “
The use of the plus sign goes back to at least 1984, when the French TV channel Canal + launched. Google is part of the trend from 2011 to 2019, with the social network Google+.
The Hulu streaming platform used it back in 2010, when it started its Hulu Plus subscription service. In 2015, the company subtracted the plus number and the name became pure Hulu. “We had a blast with our old friend Plus,” said Hulu as she announced the change, “but it’s time to move on.”
The additive trend that came after the craze for dot-com era names – eBay, Esurance and Eharmony – has taken over the ‘e’, which means electronics, as a sign of entertainment and buying. online shopping. Apple famously popularized the lowercase ‘i’, followed by iGoogle, iHeartMedia, and iZotope. Ampersands also thrived thanks to a wide range of fashion labels like Me & You, Me & Ro, Stella & Haas and Stella & Dot.
The plus sign has become so common in the streaming industry that movie star and entrepreneur Ryan Reynolds mocked the trend in an ad for his wireless carrier Mint Mobile. His parody has been promoted Mint Mobile Plus, a fictional streaming service.
Some brand names are professional – the naming industry has exploded from a number of specialty stores in the 1980s to the thousands of costumes. – says that using “plus” can lead to inhibitory growth. Mr. Carr pointed out that financial institutions are having difficulty distinguishing between new credit card offerings and must use colors such as silver, gold, platinum and black.
“I can’t say how many times I’ve seen this happen – there’s always the next generation, version 3.0 or 4.0,” said Carr. “So will it become Paramount Plus Plus? Paramount Plus Plus Plus? “
Last year, new streaming services like NBCUniversal’s Peacock platform and AT & T’s HBO Max tried to fight the fad. But with so many others relying on this logo, those who first applied “probably find it annoying now that everyone is copying them,” Julie Doughty, who runs Naming Practices & Speech Recognition at the brand company Landor & Fitch said.
Now, the plus sign could be short for streaming itself, “in the same way that the plus sign becomes a hashtag,” Ms. Doughty said.
Executives of naming companies say that ViacomCBS and Disney most likely went through months of debate and focus groups, as well as trademark and foreign language testing, before approving sign marks. plus.
“It’s not that ‘plus’ is the best name,” said Steve Manning, a founder of the agency naming Igor. “That is what survives, because everything else gets eliminated. It is the least offensive choice for a large audience. “
Mr. Manning, who turned Court TV into truTV, likened the task of choosing a name like choosing a pizza by the committee.
“Someone is lactose intolerant, someone won’t eat meat,” he said. “You’ll be in luck if you’re eating anything more than just gluten-free crust with cheese on a good day.”
Alexandra Watkins, whose branding firm Eat My Words has teamed up with Smitten for an ice cream business in California and Neato for a robot vacuum, says she tries to avoid names that “look like like someone gets drunk and plays Scrabble. ” She admits having sold to a client with a name that includes “plus” – and is surprised to make $ 30,000 for it.
With so many streaming companies adopting the logo, she said ViacomCBS “totally missed an opportunity” by naming her platform Paramount +, instead of following something imaginative. more statues.
“Plus the lowest common denominator,” she said. “It’s lazy, and an easy way out.”