April 20, 2021

Why Plus Is a Minus When Naming Your Streaming Site

“It’s cool and hip now,” Mr. Carr continued, “but you can’t own or define a generic term like ‘plus,’ because all of your competitors are out there doing the same thing.”

The use of the plus sign goes back to at least 1984, when the French television channel Canal+ made its debut. Google was part of the trend from 2011 to 2019, with its Google+ social network.

The streaming platform Hulu used it in 2010, when it started the Hulu Plus subscription service. In 2015, the company subtracted the plus and the name became just plain Hulu. “We’ve had a blast with our old friend Plus,” Hulu said when it announced the change, “but it’s time to move on.”

The plus trend came along after the craze for dot-com era names — eBay, Esurance and Eharmony — that seized on the ‘e,’ for electronic, as a signifier of online leisure and shopping. Apple famously popularized the lowercase ‘i,’ followed by iGoogle, iHeartMedia and iZotope. Ampersands also flourished, thanks to a slew of fashion labels such as Me You, MeRo, Stella Haas and Stella Dot.

The plus sign has become such a streaming-industry commonplace that the movie star and entrepreneur Ryan Reynolds mocked the trend in a commercial for his Mint Mobile wireless carrier. His parody promoted Mint Mobile Plus, a fictional streaming service.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/25/business/media/streaming-platforms-plus-signs.html

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