As Netflix Tinkers With Ecommerce, Brand-Related Retail Makes Sense

Ever wonder about those tantalizing stories concerning Netflix and and a potential ad-supported service? Well, it still ain’t happening.

But here’s a tease: Maybe Netflix is toying around with a related idea: consumer products. This comes with the big subscription video on demand service starting a virtual “store” where people can buy products -- exclusive, limited edition TV shows and movies related, such as action figures (for anime shows), clothing and “decorative items.”

But don’t think this “store” will be attached to product seen in its TV shows/movies -- at least for now. A Chevy Truck, iPhone, or Starbucks product placement deal in its content? We don’t know of any.

Instead, Netflix has been pursuing its own consumer product line of sorts, asking top flight new designers to come with related products. Since a year ago, Netflix has struck distribution deals with Walmart, Target and Amazon.



Still, don’t make the leap to other marketing- and media-related materials. It's not an Amazon or NBC.

Think of Netflix more like Walt Disney, which has a vast consumer products and licensing division, where it sells products from its movies and TV shows, mostly young adult-kid oriented stuff.

Still, we also know Disney has a vast advertising sales unit for its TV and digital media platforms.

However, it turns out the nearest Netflix competitor, according to analysts, is Disney+, which does not carry advertising and seemingly has no intention. (Disney's advertising streaming efforts reside mostly in Hulu.)

For sure, Netflix’s move is all about engaging with consumers. Figure those products at one of those big retailers -- virtual or in-store -- is more like off-the-air marketing for the Netflix brand. We get that.

Netflix can only place so much TV and other media promotion and advertising stuff related to new movies or TV shows.

But one day, Netflix may expand its store. Perhaps with some actual products, say a real chess set from “The Queen’s Gambit”? Your move.

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