Market LeadersBy Tom Dougherty
28 December 2020
Market leaders: They’re just settling for you
The success of Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max and Soul on Disney+ over the holiday weekend got me thinking. Those streamers are probably feeling like market leaders.
Which means they shouldn’t get too comfortable. Why? Because maybe viewers simply settled for those choices.
Let me explain. Both blockbusters debuted on streaming services (although WW84 was released simultaneously in theaters) on Christmas with most theaters shut down. It was a test of sorts. To see if viewers would actually opt for the streaming movies or simply ignore them.
Turns out they opted in. HBO Max says nearly half of its subscribers watched WW84. And I’m sure the viewership for Soul (like in our household) will be higher.
But the situation recalls what all market leaders must remember. In the lieu of any better options, audiences simply settle for the market leader. It doesn’t mean they prefer that leader. Or even like it.
Consider Walmart. It’s the retail market leader by a mile. But do shoppers really like Walmart? Do they have an emotional attachment to it?
I doubt it. Like most market leaders, it’s just become the default choice. Because Walmart’s competition simply copies its messaging and approach: Low cost.
Shoppers simply settle for it.
Market leaders get complacent
So, instead of acting on that leadership, they simply sat fat and happy. Thinking they were preferred. And that preference would form a wall against any intruding competitors.
If I have a message for market leaders heading into (hopefully) a better year in 2021, it’s this: Don’t think just because you are on top that it will stay that way. Don’t get complacent.
HBO Max is feeling pretty good about the success of WW84. But it’s ultimately fool’s gold. Other streamers (and studios) will follow suit and offer better options. The streamer just got lucky.
Being content is exactly how market leaders ultimately fail.
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