OTT players like Netflix earn extra moolah from merchandising

Updated: August 16, 2019 4:33:21 AM

Besides Stranger Things, Netflix has licensed products for shows like Riverdale and other originals.

For OTT show-brand tie-ups, the licensing fee can easily range from Rs 30 lakh for a smaller association to even Rs 1 crore or more, depending on the nature of the deal.For OTT show-brand tie-ups, the licensing fee can easily range from Rs 30 lakh for a smaller association to even Rs 1 crore or more, depending on the nature of the deal.

By Sonam Saini

Netflix recently made news for the sheer number of brands it lined up to collaborate with its popular sci-fi show Stranger Things, with an aim to make it a ‘billion-dollar franchise’, as per a Netflix spokesperson. Brands such as Levi’s, H&M, Nike, Microsoft and Coke are among those which have tied up with the show, paving the way for the potential of licensing and merchandising (L&M) for OTT players — an industry which has so far been leveraged mainly by moviemakers and kids’ channels.

Besides Stranger Things, Netflix has licensed products for shows like Riverdale and other originals.

Closer home ZEE5, too, has partnered with fashion portal Bewakoof.com to release its line of merchandise for its original show Rangbaaz. To amplify ZEE5’s marketing efforts, Bewakoof.com even launched a chat show on its YouTube channel (Bewakoof Studio) called ‘Strictly Chilling’ with the star cast of Rangbaaz, in addition to creating interactive content for its 9-lakh-plus Instagram followers.

“The future of content is here. India is a new and young market for merchandising. As the popularity of the show and the target audience grows, merchandising will take off, and it will become one of the most innovative consumer product programmes for the brand,” said Bhavik Vora, founder and CEO, Black White Orange Brands, the licensing and merchandising firm for shows such as Games of Thrones, Sesame Street, Minions and Despicable Me, in India.

“Merchandising has always played an integral part in our overall marketing and promotion,” said Manish Aggarwal, business head, ZEE5.

For The Final Call, its original show starring Arjun Rampal, the Zee OTT platform even changed the cover design of the book on which the show is based, featuring Rampal on it, and retailed it at airports and bookstores as a part of its marketing activation exercise.

However, there are challenges when employing merchandising as a strategy for OTT shows — an existing fan base for the show is a must. “For merchandising, it is important to have a community. As the fan base keeps growing, OTT platforms need to give consumers a touch and feel of those brands. This is a space that is only just beginning to get explored,” Vora added.

For OTT show-brand tie-ups, the licensing fee can easily range from Rs 30 lakh for a smaller association to even Rs 1 crore or more, depending on the nature of the deal. Compare this with movie merchandising, where films such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens reportedly generated Rs 600 crore in merchandising sales, which was even greater than the Rs 200-crore ticket sales.

Similarly, Toy Story made Rs 100 crore in box office revenues, whereas in terms of retail, it rang in around Rs 1,000 crore.

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