Over the next few months, the retail giant said, products spanning music, apparel, toys and games will feature tie-ins with shows like Stranger Things, Nailed It! and CoComelon. Not even two weeks after it premiered, Ada Twist, Scientist is also one of the initial points of focus. Items will range from plush dolls and Halloween costumes to bedding and electronics.
While it is the dominant player in streaming, with 209 million global subscribers, Netflix has largely relied on a single revenue stream, unlike traditional media companies. It has recently expanded into the video game sector as it looks to diversify. Merchandise, a staple of Hollywood universe-building, is a key part of the growth plan, along with developing a deeper roster of big-ticket original franchises. The company signaled as much recently by making its largest-ever acquisition, buying the Roald Dahl catalog for more than $700 million.
Netflix had previously made limited forays into merchandising through physical retail, endorsing a line of Stranger Things fare for Target. A collection of “ugly” Christmas sweaters and other gear launched ahead of the 2017 Halloween debut of a new season of Stranger Things. To celebrate, senior executives at Netflix pulled sweaters over their dress shirts during the company’s quarterly earnings video interview.
The venture with Walmart follows the launch last spring of a direct-to-consumer site under the Netflix corporate umbrella. That online store began as a boutique effort, with a selection of specialty items like $60 Lupin throw pillows and Yasuke anime hoodies designed by Hypwear’s Jordan Bentley.
“Through this new partnership, Walmart will not only offer products that bring the imagination of Netflix creators into reality, but Walmart customers and Netflix superfans will also find a new, exciting entertainment destination,” Jeff Evans, Walmart’s EVP, Entertainment, Toys and Seasonal, wrote in a blog post. “The Netflix Hub brings together some of its most popular shows in its first digital storefront with a national retailer, and we’re proud to partner with them on this new adventure that will let our customers dive even deeper into their favorite stories and characters.”