WWE’s former licensing VP for North America, Jess Richardson, has joined streaming behemoth Netflix as director of global licensing, merchandising and promotions.
Netflix had been searching for an L.A.-based senior L&M manager since February to help drive its amplified consumer products strategy. The company’s job posting stated that the successful candidate will license Netflix properties to retailers and suppliers in global territories across books, comics, gaming toys, collectibles, soundtrack and apparel.
Other tasks, according to Netflix, will include the development of go-to-market plans for consumer, trade and retail marketing to increase demand for licensed Netflix products, as well as creating growth strategies through both e-commerce and physical retail.
While Richardson’s specific job responsibilities are yet to be revealed, the move could potentially impact how Netflix works with many of its kids content partners—like DreamWorks and Saban Brands—that have already launched or plan to launch consumer products programs based on their Netflix original series.
Netflix’s recent purchase of comic book publisher Millarworld, its first-ever acquisition, could also factor significantly into it new consumer products strategy.
Richardson comes to the SVOD after spending five years as VP of licensing at World Wrestling Entertainment, which recently reported a Q2 revenue increase of 8% to a record US$215 million. WWE also recently extended its global master toy licensing agreement with Mattel through 2021.
Prior to WWE, the licensing, sales and marketing exec was sales director for four years at brand licensing agency The Joester Loria Group, where he also served as an account executive specializing on Discovery Communications properties Animal Planet and Discovery Channel. Before Joester Loria, he was associate manager of licensing and marketing at 4Kids Entertainment.
The hire follows Netflix’s first foray into L&M last year, when it launched products at US retail chain Hot Topic based on its hit sci-fi series Stranger Things. It also comes after rival Disney announced it will pull its movies from Netflix and offer its own direct-to-consumer SVOD service in 2019.