But not everyone's nonplussed by the plus.
Tacking a “+” onto a media company’s name to denote its streaming arm “is a short-term versus long-term strategy,” said Mike Carr, the Texas-based director and co-founder of branding firm NameStormers, which has helped name the likes of clients including hard cider brand Angry Orchard and auto seller CarMax.
In the short term, legacy-cum-streaming media competitors like Discovery and Disney can employ the popular naming tactic to leverage pre-existing awareness of their overarching brands in the marketplace. “But you’re not differentiating yourself,” said Carr, a 35-year veteran of the brand and product naming business.
“The long-term problem is, when ‘plus’ becomes dated or passé, well, now everyone’s saddled with these ‘plus’ trailers,” Carr said, likening it to other “ridiculous naming strategies” such as the “.com” branding fad that swept up-and-coming companies in the early 2000s. “Well, we all know what happened, right? The bubble burst.”
Not every streaming service that has debuted in the past couple of years has fallen prey to this naming convention. HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock opted for punchier, catchier, more unique names when they both launched in 2020. Carr singles out 18-month-old Peacock (which might’ve been called NBC+ in a parallel universe) as a prime example.
“Peacock is a brand that you can build and own, and I think it was a far better long-term strategy,” he said. “The name can be differentiated forever. It’s bright, it’s vibrant, it’s sort of got a cool factor.”
And in Carr’s opinion, that's a plus.