June 14, 2021
Netflix, taking over a Walt Disney page, will launch a Online Store to sell limited edition clothing, lifestyle products and collectibles from its extensive catalog of shows and movies. The site marks the first direct-to-consumer retail push for the world’s largest streaming service.
Large studios often make more money from royalties on licensed merchandise than from selling blockbuster movie tickets. Disney, with franchises ranging from “Mickey Mouse” to “Star Wars”, is by far the licensed leader.
Netflix has stepped up its licensing agreements since hiring Josh Simon, formerly at Nike, in March 2020 as vice president of consumer products. Recent new partners include Walmart, Amazon, Target, Sephora, Mattel, and H&M.
Rather than a massive “All About Netflix” site, however, Netflix.shop will feature a rotating selection of exclusive, limited-edition items from select shows. The approach appears to be aimed at creating a buzz around the shows as they come out and gain momentum, as well as supporting its broader licensing programs.
Initially, the site will feature products from the “Eden” and “Yasuke” animated series, including a “Yasuke” clothing line in collaboration with streetwear brand Hypland and the designer. Jordan Bentley. Later this month, caps, t-shirts, hoodies and sweaters related to “Lupine”, a series about a thief based in Paris, will be available. Created in collaboration with the Louvre Museum, “Lupine” items also include a $ 150 side table and $ 60 cushions.
Over the next few months, Netflix will launch products related to the blockbusters “The Witcher” and “Stranger Things” and clothing from the Netflix logo from Japanese fashion house BEAMS.
In one blog entry, Simon described Netflix.shop “as an exciting new destination combining curated products and rich storytelling into a shopping experience unlike any Netflix.”
Netflix is a content creation machine. In 2019, Netflix released 657 original first-run titles, i.e. more than nine times the original programming hours of video streaming rival Amazon.com, according to OMDIA research.
Among the skeptics is Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia University’s Business School, who questions the enduring popularity of Netflix’s often overnight hits. He said the New York Times, “Most of them have a short lifespan, unlike a Disney property, which is a long generational ride.”
Netflix has not revealed any plans for physical stores.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of the overall merchandising opportunity around Netflix’s ever-expanding content library? Is Netflix’s limited-edition, direct-to-consumer approach with Netflix.shop the right one?
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