This weekend, Netflix will host its first-ever global fan gathering, dubbed “TUDUM.” And the Comic-Con-style events mark a turning point in the streamer’s career.
TUDUM starts competing with rivals who have long-standing, beloved franchises. It is named after the sound that plays when viewers first open the app.
That’s always been a sticking issue for Netflix, which has more than 200 million subscribers and is the king of the streaming business. However, it lacks the intellectual property of rivals such as Disney+, Paramount, and HBO Max (owned by CNN parent company WarnerMedia), who own Marvel, Star Wars, Star Trek, DC, and Harry Potter.
Netflix simply does not have the same franchise clout. Not yet, at least.
Netflix, on the other hand, has been progressively cultivating fandoms as its repertoire has grown. TUDUM is being used by the corporation to remind and solidify that fact.
TUDUM is a massive fan gathering in the spirit of Disney’s “D23 Expo” or DC’s “FanDome,” with over 70 series, 28 films, and 145 Netflix stars.
“Stranger Things,” “The Crown,” “Bridgerton,” “The Witcher,” and “The Umbrella Academy” will all be featured in the one-day event, which will begin on Saturday with three hours of trailers, stars, and announcements from some of its most popular films and series, including “Stranger Things,” “The Crown,” “Bridgerton,” “The Witcher,” and “The Umbrella Academy.” The event will be broadcast in 29 languages and will be available on Netflix’s YouTube channels, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch.
But why does Netflix require a FanDome or Comic-Con of its own?
One of the best ways to build a streaming service — even the one at the top — is to create must-see, popular content that millions of people are passionate about.
Long-running stories and characters have always been a part of pop culture, and Netflix wants to be considered among the storied studios that are the curators of those treasured tales.
Franchises are a tried-and-true method of attracting and retaining fans, ensuring that the company’s subscriber base and growth keep Wall Street happy.
TUDUM arrives at a time when Netflix could use a lift in that department. While the service hasn’t stopped expanding — it already has more than 25 million customers — the last two quarters have seen a slowdown in subscriber growth.
TUDUM will not have a direct impact on Netflix’s figures. However, it will allow Netflix to take over the pop cultural consciousness for a day, which may help the company keep current users and recruit new ones in the future.
TUDUM and the franchise focus are also part of a bigger plan that Netflix has been pursuing for the past year: building a stronger relationship with its customers. Netflix, for example, is branching out into gaming and selling Netflix-branded merchandise to customers.
Also on Tuesday, Netflix revealed that it has purchased the rights to Roald Dahl’s stories, with intentions to build a “unique universe” of items based on them.
This is the first time Netflix has purchased a business with this much intellectual property. Classic children’s books by Roald Dahl, such as “Matilda” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” are ideal for creating a franchise around: They’re well-known, include a diverse cast of popular characters, and are both family-friendly and fiendishly mature.
Then, on Thursday, Netflix announced that a sequel to the wildly popular true-crime docuseries “Tiger King” is in the works.
Now, “Tiger King” isn’t a franchise in the traditional sense — a Joe Exotic cinematic universe isn’t expected to emerge anytime soon — but it is another example of Netflix’s attempt to create famous brands based on well-known stories.