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.

The Netflix logo with price tags hanging from every letter.

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?

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.

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