Netflix’s marketing chief wants you to watch movies on Netflix, not in theaters

Netflix fans are in for a busy weekend, as is Netflix Chief Marketing Officer Marian Lee. On Saturday, the streaming giant’s Tudum fan event will be quintupled in size and go global.

Tudum started in January 2020 as a face-to-face event in a market, São Paulo, Brazil. The Covid pandemic interrupted all of that in person, but on September 24 the event is back, and it’s big.

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Named for the initial sound of the streaming service, Tudum is now made up of five events from around the world, offering “more content, more shows and movies, more talent” and yes, “more breaking news,” as Lee put it. . in a phone interview with IndieWire.

Tudum is Netflix’s D23 and Disney+ Day all in one. It’s not exactly San Diego Comic-Con, but Tudum serves as a strong, controlled addition to existing fan conventions. “I wouldn’t say we don’t watch those events, but we’re really trying to put our own mark on something,” Lee said. “What do we have that is really unique here? We, just in the last 10 years, have really developed this huge library of IP and franchises.”

Those include mega-hits “Stranger Things,” “Bridgerton,” “Squid Game” and “The Witcher,” all of which will be represented at Tudum 2022. “We’re really just trying to get all those fans together, celebrate them, give them a way to connect directly with talent,” he said. “We could be premiering things they haven’t seen before, any kind of exclusives.”

Putting all that together can cause internal “chaos” for your team, Lee acknowledged: “It’s like ‘A Beautiful Mind’ mapping it on a wall.”

“Squid Game” Season 1. - Credit: Netflix

“Squid Game” Season 1. – Credit: Netflix


“Squid Game” remains Netflix’s biggest global hit, which helps explain why this year’s Tudum begins in Korea, where the series originated. A show like that will only sell for the upcoming season 2, but launching a new series is where Lee’s marketing team can really shine. Even viral sensations can use a helping hand; Lee’s toolbox includes a BA in Psychology from Barnard College at Columbia University and eight years as one of Spotify’s top marketing executives.

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The South Korean hit, which racked up 1.65 billion hours of viewing in its first 28 days, “definitely had marketing,” Lee said. In other words, the success of “Squid Game” didn’t just come from word of mouth. “I had marketing all over the world. Now it was [the viewership level] unexpected in certain markets? Like, did we think it was going to resonate as much as it did in the US? she said. “Certainly not at first.”

But Netflix’s Korean marketing team laid the “really impressive foundations,” Lee told us, including full builds at local department stores. There was “custom marketing throughout Asia,” she continued, and when the show really started to take off, Lee’s UCAN (United States and Canada, which is what she was running at the time) team stepped up their efforts to “take the heat.” “. in this case.”

And it was steaming hot. “That’s when she saw how the moments, the activations, and the costumes were being created all over the place,” she said.

Activation of “The Gray Man” at San Diego Comic-Con.  - Credit: Hitchhiker Pictures for Netflix

Activation of “The Gray Man” at San Diego Comic-Con. – Credit: Hitchhiker Pictures for Netflix

Hitchhiker Photos for Netflix

In a conversation, you can say how much Lee likes a good activation. One of his recent favorites was tied to “The Gray Man,” the big-budget (especially for Netflix) spy-versus-spy movie starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans that had a week-long theatrical run before premiering on the SVOD service. . (which will soon add an AVOD level).

At Comic-Con this summer, Netflix created an experience that gave fans the experience of being Six (Gosling) and Lloyd Hansen (Evans). In San Diego, fans boarded a fake streetcar that crashed into a fake building, much like a scene from “Grey Man” that took place in downtown Prague. They completed challenges to get from car to car before escaping to the top of the tram, with subwoofers, rumblers, and jump scares enhancing the episode.

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“The Gray Man,” which is Netflix’s fourth most popular movie on record, is a franchise that will be expanded with a sequel and a spin-off series. For the movie(s), Lee is quite happy with the brief big-screen option, but it’s not her preference.

“Netflix is ​​the place where we want fans to watch the movies they love, or sit down with their family to watch a new movie,” he said. And so far, very well in the way that Netflix markets movies, which means, if you will, not doing much marketing at all.

“From a marketing perspective, what we’re doing is different than the big studios” who are “trying to sell a ticket,” Lee said. “But again, we are trying to build anticipation and excitement for our [movies] so people can finally watch them on Netflix. [We’re] he wasn’t focused on getting them into theaters anytime soon…for the (awards show) qualifiers. To me, our fans are on Netflix and that’s what they prefer.”

An enlarged view of the activation of

A zoomed-in view of Netflix’s “Gray Man” activation at SDCC. – Credit: Hitchhiker Pictures for Netflix

Hitchhiker Photos for Netflix

Tudum Korea kicks off on Saturday at 11 a.m. KST, which is 10 p.m. ET on Friday (or 7 p.m. PT). The “Global Fan Event” portion kicks off with Part 1 at 1 pm ET/10 am PT on Saturday. Part 2 starts 90 minutes later.

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