Fake-news concerns haven’t diminished love for YouTube: report

Despite concerns about fake news and extremist content, consumers feel closer than ever to YouTube.

The Alphabet Inc.-owned video platform jumped to sixth place in branding agency MBLM’s latest survey of “brand intimacy,” which used survey data to gauge the bonds between people and brands. YouTube ranked 25th in the year-ago study. MBLM found that 66% of its survey respondents used YouTube daily, up from 57% a year ago.

”What we saw after the election was this desire for escapism and content on your terms,” said Mario Natarelli, a managing partner at MBLM. He believes that’s a key reason why viewers feel a strong connection to YouTube and other content brands.

YouTube leapfrogged 10th-ranked Google, also part of Alphabet GOOGL, -2.23% as well as streaming rival Netflix Inc. NFLX, -1.69% which landed in eighth place.

Apple Inc. AAPL, -0.96%  once again topped MBLM’s list, with consumers still feeling strongly about the smartphone maker despite steep prices for the iPhone X. Natarelli told MarketWatch that “intimate” brands tend to be able to command premium prices, though Apple may be testing the limits of that in some parts of the world. Still, he thinks Apple had “some missteps,” but it “continues to perform head and shoulders above others overall.”

That could change in a few years if Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, -0.64%  continues its ascent. Amazon climbed one place from last year’s ranking to take second, though management hasn’t leveraged the brand’s popularity in order to charge users a premium. Amazon’s Whole Foods brand ranked ninth while its Prime brand came in 25th.

Other hot tech names didn’t fare so well. Facebook Inc. FB, -1.56%  slipped 10 spots to rank 78th, while Snap Inc.’s SNAP, -3.31%  Snapchat dropped 10 spots to 122nd. “We think that apps generally aren’t seen as intimate brands,” Natarelli said.

Outside of tech, No. 3 BMW BMW, -1.26% No. 4 Jeep, and No. 7 Target Corp. TGT, +0.71%  all rose in the ranking, while No. 5 Disney DIS, -1.37%  slipped. MBLM said that its list of most intimate brands saw their parent companies deliver better revenue and profit growth than the S&P 500 SPX, -0.64%  over the 10 years through 2016.

Apple’s stock has rocketed nearly nine-fold over the past 10 years, while the S&P 500 has roughly doubled.

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