Netflix is turning up the volume on its merch business

The streaming giant is doubling down on bobbleheads and T-shirts to monetize its fandoms.

Donning Mickey Mouse ears at Disney World is a childhood rite of passage — but where will today’s youths, raised on streaming services, empty their piggy banks?

The Netflix logo with price tags hanging from every letter.

Netflix has an answer.

Following in Disney’s lucrative footsteps, the streaming giant is going all-in on merch for its original content, per The Wall Street Journal.

So far, Netflix has created things like:

  • A “Stranger Things” T-shirt emblazoned with “Hellfire Club,” one of its bestselling products thus far.
  • A line of bridal dresses based on “Bridgerton,” set to debut this December, priced at $1.6k-$3k.
  • A “Squid Game” Be@rbrick sculpture that’s ~2 feet tall and costs $675.

And Netflix has taken its fandom one step further with IRL experiences, like Bridgerton Balls and an immersive “Squid Game” experience.

But now…

… with its live-action show “One Piece,” Netflix is trying something new.

Rather than waiting to see how the show performed, the company began making merchandise ~18 months in advance:

  • Sweatshirts and T-shirts with Zara.
  • A clothing drop with PacSun.
  • Even some chocolate bars with FYE.

But why crank out snacks and sweatsuits without knowing if a show will catch on?

Because Netflix has been burned before.

When Jenna Ortega’s dance in “Wednesday” went viral…

… fans of the show rushed to buy merch online.

But Netflix, without merchandising rights to the series, missed out on the sales of unofficial T-shirts, toys, and bags swirling on social media.

(Netflix has since partnered with MGM, the studio that owns the “Wednesday” IP, on merchandise.)

Selling stuff can be risky…

… when the success of a new show is unknown.

Products like figurines can take over a year to produce, which leaves Netflix forced to take a gamble.

And extra bobbleheads in the bargain bin can be a very bad thing for a show’s reputation.

One product we hope goes on sale? This DVD sleeping bag.

New call-to-action
Topics: Netflix

Related Articles

Get the 5-minute news brief keeping 2.5M+ innovators in the loop. Always free. 100% fresh. No bullsh*t.