Streaming home screens are the ultimate digital real-estate battle
The Future. If you want to do well in the streaming age, you want your movie or show to be featured on the home page or hero slide of a service. That positioning can make or break success… which is why it has become such a hot zone for industry players. While using an algorithm may seem the most fair, streamers may be doing themselves a disservice by not making sure that their own original content always has top billing.
The streamer home screen is the new box-office marquee.
- The home screen is the prime real estate on any streamer and is typically curated by algorithms, a human team, or a mix of both.
- The most coveted slot is the hero slide — the top banner that features the biggest preview art.
Netflix’s hero slide is determined solely by an algorithm (based on a user’s viewing habits), while Disney+, Hulu, and HBO Max rely on humans. But insiders say that Disney (which runs both Disney+ and Hulu) may go the algorithmic route under new CEO Bob Chapek.
The content that is placed on home pages and hero slides is more about keeping users engaged to the service overall, instead of promoting any individual movie or show — but that also means that creative egos might get bruised.
- When the Netflix comedy Friends From College launched in 2017, actor Fred Savage sent a video to execs showing that he couldn’t find the show anywhere on the main page.
- Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker echoed this when he said, “I think the algorithm is great once the show has launched, but particularly newer shows need people making those decisions.”
They have a point! When Eurosport execs gave Discovery grief over not putting the Tokyo Olympics on the Discovery+ home screen, Discovery made the change, which led to “a noticeable increase in viewership.”
And when a software glitch put America’s Funniest Home Videos on the hero slide, viewership doubled and put the show on the service’s top-five most-watched list.