Netflix’s Next Big Play: Turning Malls into ‘Netflix Houses’ Across America

The world’s biggest streaming service is moving into malls, bringing everyone’s favorite online series to life. But is it right move for the “king in streaming?”

Netflix Moves to Malls

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Streaming giant Netflix is exploring new business horizons with the announcement of two ‘experiential’ entertainment venues that will bring several of their world-famous streaming series to life.

Netflix Houses

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Dubbed “Netflix Houses,” these enormous venues will be more than 100,000 square feet, utilizing old department store spaces to showcase eateries, shopping outlets, and themed activities.

Coming to Dallas and Philadelphia

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The ambitious projects will be built in Galleria Dallas, a shopping mall in Dallas, Texas, and King of Prussia, a mall located near Philadelphia. They plan to open next year.

Recreating Your Favorite Netflix Shows

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Visitors will have the opportunity to experience moments from their favorite series, including recreations from iconic Netflix titles like Stranger Things, Bridgerton, Squid Game, Money Heist, and more. 

Imagine the Possibilities

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“Imagine waltzing with your partner to an orchestral cover of a Taylor Swift song on a replica of the Bridgerton set,” the company wrote in a press release on their news site Tudum. “And then walking around the corner to compete in the Glass Bridge challenge from Squid Game.”

“Get a Taste of Your Favorite Series”

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“At Netflix House, you can enjoy regularly updated immersive experiences, indulge in retail therapy, and get a taste — literally — of your favorite Netflix series and films through unique food and drink offerings,” said Netflix’s Chief Marketing Officer Marian Lee.

Falling Retail Traffic

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While the news is no doubt exciting for fans of Netflix’s biggest franchises, it’s an ambitious move for the streaming company, especially during a time when retail foot traffic is flagging around the country.

Stores Shuttered, Companies Bankrupt

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Since the Covid-19 pandemic Americans have seen retail storefronts shuttered and notable retailers file for bankruptcy around the country. 

Will They Get Repeat Customers?

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Some analysts suspect that ‘Netflix House’ could also suffer from novelty and repetitiveness, with customers visiting only once to experience their favorite shows. 

“The Keys to Success”

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“One of the keys to success will be to keep the offer refreshed, so that it keeps people coming back to what’s new,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of data analytics and consulting company GlobalData. 

Following in Disney’s Footsteps

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But it isn’t the first time a media company has branched out into retail, with Disney being the most famous example. 

Potential for Success

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“Disney has monetized its content for years and has a very successful retail business through licensing, its own stores, and shop-in-shop concepts,” said Saunders.

Smaller Experiental Events

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In Netflix’s case, they have already launched a number of small-scale live events that have proven to be successful. These include “Bridgerton Balls” hosted across the US and internationally.

Other Examples

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The company also offers an immersive Stranger Things experience in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and is collaborationg with Toronto’s secret city to host a “Knives Out” dinner party experienced based on the hit Netflix murder mystery films Knives Out and The Glass Onion.

More Than 50 Experiences

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“We’ve launched more than 50 experiences in 25 cities, and Netflix House represents the next generation of our distinctive offerings,” said Lee.

Two of America’s Busiest Malls

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Netflix has also accounted for the cooling retail sector by building the Netflix House’s in two of the country’s most visited malls. Both Galleria Dallas and King of Prussia experience consistently high foot traffic and are near two major US cities.

If Anyone Can, Netflix Can

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If any streaming service could pull off a foray into retail and interactive experiences, it would be Netflix, the worlds most popular streaming service and one of few profitable companies of it’s kind.

“The King in Streaming”

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Earlier this year Netflix was dubbed “the king in streaming” by Bank of America media analyst Jessica Reif Ehrlich. “It has become increasingly clear that Netflix has won the ‘streaming wars,’” Reif said, comparing the company to competitors like Disney and Discovery which saw it’s share values drop across 2023. 

The Need to Expand

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However, if it wants to extend its profitability into the coming years, Netflix will need to keep customers engaged and bring more people to it’s services. Experiential venues and retail business may be just what the company needs.

Live Events and Video Games

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Netflix has also begun exploring live programming including sports events and award shows. It has expanded it’s video game offerings in the last year too, with three Grand Theft Auto games that can be played on mobile.

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