Will Netflix be the next merchandise giant?
Netflix is cashing in on the release of Stranger Things season two with boardgames and apparel merchandise.
Via a partnership with Hasbro, Stranger Things Monopoly is available for purchase online, and online clothing retailer Topshop and Topman currently has a range of retro-inspired items available.
Many say the merchandise range will be just the beginning of a huge new revenue source for the streaming service, which released Stranger Things season two across 190 countries on Friday. In the US, a range of figurines, card games, T-shirts and ‘what about Barb?’ memorial paraphernalia are on sale at Target.
“We’re learning how to do merchandise,” says chief executive Reed Hastings during a 16 October company third-quarter earnings webcast. In it, he wears a christmas lights sweater from Target’s range.
“If House of Cards established Netflix as a home for premium TV and Master of None provided bona fides as a prestige outlet, Stranger Things is the first sign Netflix dreams of becoming a multifaceted media empire,” says Lucas Shaw in Bloomberg Tech.
Forbes takes three lessons from the show and Netflix’s strategic customer experience move:
- Content is now the opiate of the masses: “super-users of Netflix care more about storytelling and experiences than things, and a great way to deliver these experiences that take you somewhere else is rich content and storytelling.”
- Lead with storytelling, follow with product creation: “it’s much easier to test different content and later create a community around the content. After an understanding of the viewer, Netflix can figure out what products customers will enjoy.”
- Bring great user experiences to everything you do: “Netflix knows a lot about you, and it cares about your seamless experience. Now it will use that knowledge to seamlessly sell you products.”
A similar trajectory – from content to merchandise empire – was enjoyed by Disney. While Netflix is a long way off a merchandise operation of a similar scope, recent moves are pointing towards significant investment. The runaway success of Stranger Things prompted the company to invest in merchandise and cross-media friendly projects, such as the acquisition of comic book publisher Millarworld and the hire of Jess Richardson, formerly of World Wrestling Entertainment, to take charge of licensing shows for books, comics and toys. It is also adopting popular young adult franchise Chambers and popular video game franchise The Witcher.
Image credit: Topshop website