Netflix Films Technique: Watch on Streaming, Not in Theatres

Forward of Tudum 2022, IndieWire spoke with Netflix CMO Marian Lee about her movie advertising and marketing technique, “Squid Recreation,” and being the place the followers are.

Netflix followers are about to have a busy weekend, and so is Netflix chief advertising and marketing officer Marian Lee. On Saturday, the streaming big’s Tudum fan occasion will quintuple in dimension and go international.

Tudum started in January 2020 as an in-person occasion in a single market, São Paulo, Brazil. The Covid pandemic disrupted that complete in-person factor, however on September 24 the occasion is again — and it’s supersized.

Named for the streaming service’s start-up sound, Tudum is now made up of 5 occasions from world wide, providing “extra content material, extra reveals and films, extra expertise,” and sure, “extra information to interrupt,” as Lee stated in a phone interview with IndieWire.

Tudum is Netflix’s D23 and its Disney+ Day rolled into one. It’s not fairly San Diego Comedian-Con, however Tudum serves as a powerful — and managed — complement to present fan conventions. “I wouldn’t say we don’t have a look at these occasions, however we’re actually making an attempt to place our personal mark on one thing,” Lee stated. “What do we’ve that’s actually distinctive right here? We, simply within the final 10 years, have actually developed this large library of I.P. and franchises.”

These embody the mega-hits “Stranger Issues,” “Bridgerton,” “Squid Recreation,” and “The Witcher,” all of which will likely be represented at Tudum 2022. “We’re actually simply making an attempt to carry all these fandoms collectively, have fun them, give them a method to join on to expertise,” she stated. “We is likely to be debuting issues they haven’t seen earlier than, any sort of exclusives.”

Assembling all of that may trigger inner “chaos” for her group, Lee acknowledged: “It’s sort of like ‘A Stunning Thoughts’ mapping it out on a wall.”

“Squid Recreation” Season 1.


“Squid Recreation” stays Netflix’s largest-ever international hit, which helps clarify why this yr’s Tudum kicks off in Korea, the place the sequence originated. A present like that can promote itself for the upcoming Season 2, however launching a brand new sequence is the place Lee’s advertising and marketing group can really shine. Even viral sensations can use a serving to hand; Lee’s toolbox features a B.A. in Psychology from Barnard School at Columbia College and eight years as a high Spotify advertising and marketing government.

The South Korean smash, which amassed a mind-numbing 1.65 billion hours considered in its first 28 days, “undoubtedly had advertising and marketing,” Lee stated. In different phrases, the “Squid Recreation” success didn’t simply come by phrase of mouth. “It had advertising and marketing all world wide. Now, was [the viewership level] sudden in sure markets? Like, did we predict it was going to resonate as a lot because it did within the U.S.?” she stated. “Actually not at the beginning.”

However Netflix’s Korean advertising and marketing group laid the “actually spectacular groundwork,” Lee instructed us, together with full-set buildouts within the largest native shops. There was “bespoke advertising and marketing throughout Asia,” she continued, and when the present actually began to take off, Lee’s UCAN (United States and Canada, which is what she ran on the time) group ramped up its efforts to “take the warmth on this one.”

And it was smoking scorching. “That’s once you noticed moments being created, and activations, and the costumes in every single place,” she stated.

“The Grey Man” activation at San Diego Comedian-Con.

Hitchhiker Footage for Netflix

In dialog, you may inform how a lot Lee digs activation. Certainly one of her latest favorites was tied to “The Grey Man,” the big-budget (particularly for Netflix) spy-vs.-spy flick starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans that had a one-week theatrical run earlier than premiering on the SVOD service (which is able to quickly add an AVOD tier).

At this summer season’s Comedian-Con, Netflix created an expertise that gave followers the expertise of being Six (Gosling) and Lloyd Hansen (Evans). In San Diego, followers boarded a faux tram that faux crashed right into a faux constructing, identical to a “Gray Man” scene that passed off within the Prague metropolis middle. They accomplished challenges to maneuver from one automobile to the following earlier than escaping to the highest of the tram, with subwoofers, rumblers, and soar scares  to enhancing the episode.

“The Grey Man,” which is Netflix’s fourth most-popular film on report, is a franchise that can develop with a sequel and spinoff sequence. For the movie(s), Lee is blissful sufficient with the temporary big-screen possibility, but it surely’s not her choice.

“Netflix is the place that we wish followers to observe movies that they love, or sit down with their household to observe a brand new film,” she stated. And to date, so good on the Netflix approach of selling films — which is, to say, not doing a lot advertising and marketing in any respect.

“From a advertising and marketing perspective, what we’re doing is completely different than main studios” who’re “making an attempt to promote a ticket,” Lee stated. “However, once more, we’re making an attempt to drum up anticipation and pleasure for our [movies] so that folks can in the end watch them on Netflix. [We’re] not centered on getting them into the theaters for the brief run… for the (awards present) qualifiers. To me, our followers are on Netflix and that’s what they like.”

A zoomed out view of Netflix's

A zoomed out view of Netflix’s “Grey Man” activation at SDCC.

Hitchhiker Footage for Netflix

Tudum Korea kicks off Saturday at 11 a.m. KST, which is 10 p.m. ET Friday (or 7 p.m. PT). The “World Fan Occasion” portion begins with Half 1 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT on Saturday. Half 2 begins 90 minutes later.

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