Netflix To Open Retail Stores and Theaters Based on Hit Shows

Streaming Pioneer Pursues Disney’s Territory After Closing Iconic DVD Business

Netflix plans to complement its booming digital platform by launching brick-and-mortar stores and entertainment venues inspired by breakout titles like “Stranger Things,” according to a company executive, signaling new ambition to capitalize on intellectual property beyond the screen.

Josh Simon, Netflix’s vice president of consumer products, told Bloomberg the company will debut its inaugural “Netflix House” retail locations likely in 2025 before expanding the concept globally. The stores aim to “take immersion” into Netflix programming “to the next level” via merchandising, dining and interactive exhibits, he said.

The surprise revelation represents a major strategic shift as Netflix explores capitalizing on cultural cachet outside direct streaming subscriptions. By creating destinations allowing superfans to literally inhabit fictional universes, the company hopes to mimic merchandising maestro Disney’s blueprint.

Indeed, the move emerges just as Netflix shuttered the classic DVD mail order service that presaged its meteoric rise. Yet while ambition grows to follow Disney’s footsteps into consumer products, critics question whether Netflix boasts suitable scale and experience developing brick-and-mortar businesses compared to established park, retail and cruise operators.

Nonetheless, Netflix has already conducted limited forays into offline branding extensions like pop-up cafes and stores hawking items from current small-screen sensations. Executives now appear ready to scale those experiments into permanent sites delivering deeper immersion paired with commercial opportunities.

Successful digital brands increasingly look to physical avenues for growth, with Amazon the prime example via Whole Foods acquisition. For Netflix chasing scale, exploiting intellectual property for merch sales, dining and entertainment income offers fresh revenue streams from its always buzzy programming vault.

If Disney and Comcast subsidiary NBCUniversal can span from movies to theme park empires, Netflix may now test the theory its universe of shows grants license to also inhabit the tangible world. A ties beyond the digital realm seems the fitting next act for the iconic brand ending its legacy DVD era but desiring boundless new frontiers to colonize.

Photo by John-Mark Smith