Netflix Viewership And Its Effects on E-commerce & Economy | The Netflix Effect

Harshit Verma Harshit Verma
Oct 19, 2021 6 min read
Netflix Viewership And Its Effects on E-commerce & Economy | The Netflix Effect

You would be living under a rock if you don't know what Netflix is. It is the world's most popular subscription based video streaming service. Founded in 1977 and was originally a DVD rental service. In 2007 it began streaming cinema online (OTT Service) and became the Netflix that we know today.

Streaming services such as Netflix have changed the way we consume media in the world today. With the emergence of “binge watching” we now have access to and can consume more entertainment than ever before. But how are these new opportunities affecting our culture as a whole? As of July 2021, Netflix has 209 million subscribers. That is a huge number and It grows around ten percent every year. With this number of viewers watching everything that Netflix produces, there are some “after effects” too. Effects that continue even when your favourite movie or series come to end. So what are these Effects and how are they relevant to us and the Environment/Economy around?

Netflix Effect
Queen behind Chess win
Squid Games in Real
The Imitation Game
The future of advertising

Netflix Effect

The Netflix Effect

We are talking about the Netflix Effect. This term can be used to describe several events that are the consequences of the culture that borns out of Netflix’s shows and movies. For instance Actors that became a sensation overnight or certain products after being used in a film or show getting huge demand from everywhere. With a huge audience waiting eagerly for the next season of shows or sequels, this effect is obvious and inevitable in all senses. To get more clear let us take an example.

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Queen behind Chess win

The Queen’s Gambit is a TV series, released on Netflix in October last year. The plot was about an orphan chess prodigy who dreams of becoming a chess grandmaster someday. The show soon became one of the most popular shows on Netflix. Before its release, if you’d asked the general public whether a show about chess could bring in millions of viewers and break Netflix records, chances are most wouldn’t have believed you. YES, A record-setting 62 million households chose to watch The Queen's Gambit in its first 28 day.

With this rising viewership, the show created a cult, a culture that interested a lot of people. The after effects of this huge Fandom were many. To count a few, the show soared sales of chess boards, people all of a sudden began learning how to play chess, The original novel became a bestseller and Chess-dot-com (Online Chess platform) saw huge sign ups, Chess apps downloads went up by many folds. This is what happens when a show becomes immensely popular, People start copying and imitating their favourite characters in the show.

Google Trends showing splurge in "Chess" term in UK

Squid Games in Real

The most recent Netflix blockbuster “Squid Games” has become a pop culture phenomenon. Released in September, It is a Korean Horror-Survival series. Striking a chord with the audience, The show has produced massive ripple effects in trends. From Squid games themed fashion lines to viral challenges on Tik-Tok.

Squid Game Costume
Squid Game Costume

All of a sudden everyone is mentioning a reference from the show. People are cosplaying the characters, Learning korean, Not to mention Dalgona candy sales are at an all time high, and oh my gosh !! White sneakers are generating 7800 percent more sales than before. Vans(Shoe store) is having a good boom after this. Duolingo's Korean learners increased by around 40% and everyone just wants to jump into the fashion.

A character from the show “HoYeon Jung” became an overnight sensation when her IG followers jumped to the sky, was roped in by Louis Vuitton and was made the face of the luxury brand.

HoYeon Jung Instagram
HoYeon Jung Instagram

Squid Game is still producing viral benefits for brands.

The show was viewed by over 142M households worldwide and generated an estimated $900M in value for Netflix. (The series cost Netflix only a little over $21M.)

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The Imitation Game

As google is synonymous and an official “Verb” for searching, Netflixing has become a synonym to “binge watching”. Ask for binge recommendations and most and all you get is Netflix produced stuff. It has changed how we consume media for entertainment. Online streaming is not killing cinephilia, but rather it is changing the way we view movies and interact with that particular medium. I would also say that cinephilia is not dying and, in some ways, I would say it is stronger than ever.

The reason why I have named this para as ‘Imitation Game’ is that people imitate what they find superior or heroic or just greater-than-life. There is a quote that goes here very smoothly

- “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind” - Jim Morrison.

When people watch their favourite characters doing something, they seek to imitate them. Like the prodigy that plays chess in “Queen’s Gambit”, Made people like chess, play it more and speak about it more. “Squid games” made people hop into themed jumpsuits and play challenges and imitate the show. The behaviour of liking and copying people’s favourite, can or maybe has already become a business marketing technique. How far it can go and how dynamic it can be, we will witness.

The Future of Advertising

The instances of Netflix’s rocketing sales of on screen products proves the point that it can be a marvellous advertising powerhouse. Brands can take note of these effects and market their products as a story, or woven as a story, a series, show or any piece of cinema to lure cinephiles.

Netflix Is Ad Free, but It Isn’t Brand Free - A Tribune Article

In another recent cross-promotion, Netflix charged the clothing company Diesel a license fee to make outfits inspired by “La Casa de Papel,” one of Netflix’s most popular shows. Online ads from Diesel hammered home the connection by showing the Netflix name, mentioning “La Casa de Papel” and featuring characters in the distinctive red jumpsuits worn by the show’s protagonists.

Netflix Effect on Diesel Clothing Company ad


Netflix doesn’t run ads on its platform but has somehow magically has become a coveted marketing platform in the world. The top streaming service provider restrains commercials but is trying to figure out a way on how it can work with brands to direct the crowd. Netflix is highly cautious about his brand image too and even continues to refute the idea of introducing an advertising model similar to the majority of other streaming services have adopted.

Nevertheless as per studies and reports and as per viewers' own discretion we can discuss and establish that sooner or later Netflix can approach brand advertising and product placement in maybe a different manner than the rest. This expansion in this scope is going to give a strong back support to the company, providing them with more options and more stability. If this happens then the world of advertising will surely see a splurge. The advertising will be more specific and widespread, the characters more colourful and the Fandom more wholesome. In the meantime, marketers should pay attention to what’s taking the streaming world by storm – it may help them to boost sales.


How many customers does Netflix have?

Netflix has about 209 million paying customers globally.

Which country uses Netflix the most?

Netflix is most watched in South America.

How much money does Netflix make?

Netflix generated total revenue of over 7.3 billion U.S. dollars in the second quarter of 2021.

Which Netflix series has the most views?

Netflix top 5 series by total view in 1st month of release are:

  • Bridgerton, season 1
  • Money Heist, part 4
  • Stranger Things 3
  • The Witcher, season 1
  • 13 Reasons Why, season 2

Some of the most popular series on Netflix are:

  • The Witcher
  • Sex/Life
  • Stranger Things 3
  • Money Heist
  • Tiger King

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