Netflix to open 1st store in Japan in 2022

Netflix to open 1st store in Japan in 2022
Film and TV show streaming service giant Netflix Inc is preparing to open its first shop, directly managed by the company, in Tokyo in the first half of 2022, a senior official of the U.S. firm's Japanese unit said.

The shop, where shooting scenes of dramas will be recreated and goods related to the programs will be sold, would be the first of its kind in the world for Netflix, which has been seeing increased subscribers as many people stay home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The company aims to accelerate efforts to "merge the virtual world of internet with the real world" at a rare physical store setting, the official said.

For example, a recreated movie set of "The Naked Director," a popular Netflix original drama series starring Japanese actor Takayuki Yamada, is planned to be on display at the shop.

Since starting business in Japan in 2015, Netflix has become the leading company in subscription-based, flat-rate streaming services in the country, with about a 20 percent market share in 2020, according to a private research firm.

Netflix now has about 5 million paid subscribers in Japan, while its total streaming customers worldwide stood at some 208 million at the end of March, with those in North America accounting for the most, according to a market research firm.

Netflix is also thinking of exhibiting at the store how it introduces and recommends programs to viewers based on analysis by artificial intelligence.

In May, the company released T-shirts and miscellaneous goods sporting its logo that were developed in collaboration with Japanese fashion apparel retailer Beams Co. Sales of the products at Beams shops exceeded expectations.

While exploring business opportunities in the post-pandemic era, Netflix said it came to a conclusion that it is necessary to increase exposure to customers in a real world setting for the company to continue growing in the Japanese market.

"Opening amusement facilities is a future option, too," said the executive of the Japan unit.
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