‘Stranger Things’ Has ‘Changed The Thinking’ At Netflix In An Unexpected Way

There have been three titanic shifts in Netflix’s original programming. There was Lilyhammer, Netflix’s first “exclusive content.” There’s House of Cards, Netflix’s first (and most bafflingly successful) award show contender. And there’s Stranger Things, Netflix’s first blockbuster series. Before July 15, 2016, when Matt and Ross Duffer’s sci-fi throwback premiered, the streaming service didn’t have a Game of Thrones– or Walking Dead-level popular show to call its own (sorry, Marco Polo). But Stranger Things is now a global hit — the proverbial water cooler show — and it’s making Netflix rethink things.

That’s according to an article from The Hollywood Reporter, which spoke to an unnamed source about how Stranger Things has “changed the thinking” at Netflix about the potential of its original programming. The blinking Christmas lights are spelling “THERE’S LOTS OF MONEY TO BE MADE HERE.”

After [Stranger Things became a surprise hit], Netflix made quick licensing deals with clothing company Hybrid Apparel and retailer Hot Topic. The streaming giant subsequently began a search for an executive to run a licensing effort and in August hired Jess Richardson, WWE’s former licensing vp for North America, as director of global licensing, merchandising and promotions.

As Netflix increasingly ramps up the number of original shows that it owns, it seems a natural evolution for the streamer to wade into licensing. Certainly the market can be lucrative. According to the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association’s Annual Global Licensing Industry Survey, 2016 retail sales of licensed goods based on entertainment and character properties were $118.3 billion globally, with $42.7 billion of that from sales in the U.S. (Via)

Licensing deals are reportedly already in the works “with Funko for collectibles, Trends International for posters and paper goods, McFarlane Toys for action figures, and Hybrid Apparel for clothing.” If Netflix has its way, there’s going to be Stranger Things merchandise everywhere this Halloween season. Demogorgon dresses at Hot Topic, Winona Ryder-endorsed axes at Home Depot, Eleven’s face on Eggo waffles at Walmart. Meanwhile, I’m still looking for my officially licensed Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt bunker.

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)