Netflix is reportedly set to open brick-and-mortar retail stores called Netflix House in the US, as part of the company’s efforts to expand beyond its streaming business. As per Bloomberg, these fun spaces would allow fans to shop for merchandise, eat themed food, and engage in activities based on their favourite movies and shows, such as an obstacle course reminiscent of Squid Game. The streaming platform plans to build the first two sites in 2025 in the US, before expanding to other regions — akin to how studios build theme parks and experiences based on their IP. For now, there isn’t much information on the stores, but the project marks Netflix’s first permanent experience fixture — one focused on multiple IPs.
“We’ve seen how much fans love to immerse themselves in the world of our movies and TV shows, and we’ve been thinking a lot about how we take that to the next level,” Josh Simon, VP, Netflix Consumer Products told Bloomberg. Netflix primarily sells merchandise through its online storefront, ranging from T-shirts based on the popular Stranger Things to a marionette of the long-nosed wooden puppet boy from the stop-motion film Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio.
Netflix has previously dabbled with successful pop-up shops, albeit for a limited time, which is possibly how the company decided on the concept for a permanent one. Its most popular one was Stranger Things: The Experience, tossing visitors inside a recreation of the Hawkins Lab with an immersive story and special effects. There was also a Bridgerton-inspired ballroom dance event and a Money Heist-themed escape room.
“Don’t think of it like Disneyland,” Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos said at the Bloomberg Screentime Conference. “[It’s] something you might go to a couple of times a month, not just once every couple years.” Netflix House is poised to feature ‘rotating installations’ ranging from ticketed experience shoes to restaurants boasting both fast food and fine dining experiences — including alcohol.
Earlier this year, it launched Netflix Bites in Los Angeles, a pop-up eatery that served dishes based on its original shows. The restaurant has since closed, but it wouldn’t be far-fetched to assume that it served as a testing ground for what the company has planned next. The report also notes that Netflix sees this business as a means to promote its IP, rather than a revenue source.
Netflix retired its 25-year-long running DVD rental service in September, given the demand for physical media slowly diminished as streaming came to the forefront. For now, there’s no word on whether Netflix House would sell any DVDs, which would be ironic given the streamer was effectively involved in the closure of rental stores like Blockbuster.
A report from earlier this month suggested that Netflix was planning to raise its subscription prices once the Hollywood actors’ strike ends, starting with the US and Canada.