The Business of ‘Bridgerton’: How Netflix Is Capitalizing on One of Its Biggest Hits

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The streamer is planning long term with product partnerships and live events connected to hit franchises

"Bridgerton" season 3
Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan in "Bridgerton" (Chris Smith/TheWrap)

Season 3 of “Bridgerton” is captivating the hearts and minds of hopeless romantics globally. But this summer, Netflix is also capturing fans’ wallets like never before.

The streamer has ramped up the show’s product partnerships — with Bath and Body WorksRuggable, and dog accessory brand Maxbone among others — and themed live events ahead of the new season, part of a strategic decade-long plan for “Bridgerton” should the show continue for its planned eight seasons.

“Bridgerton fans have spoken. They love the Regency world, the storytelling and characters – and want more,” Netflix Consumer Products VP Josh Simon said in a statement to TheWrap. “We’ve been listening and building a universe that caters to this fandom.” He added that his team responded to fan demand by tripling its brand partners ahead of Season 3 and expanding globally to key markets in places like Italy, Brazil and Southeast Asia.

Thanks to global hits like “Bridgerton,” Netflix — as TheWrap previously reported — continues to have the largest worldwide audience among streamers, with more than two thirds of its 247 million subscribers based outside of the United States. Data for the latest season isn’t yet available, but seasons 1 and 2, with 113.3 million and 93.8 million views, respectively, are among Netflix’s most-viewed shows.

Live events include the 90-minute Queen’s Ball, now in a dozen cities around the world, and a “Bridgerton” themed high tea at The Lanesborough in London.

Netflix’s effort to transform viewers into product consumers mirrors Disney and Universal’s more-established merchandise and theme parks strategy. Like those companies, Netflix is starting to venture into live experiences, where it can leverage its much-larger international audience more effectively than other streamers or studios can. And “Bridgerton” fans are a ripe testing group, Alicia Reese, vice president of equity, media & entertainment at Wedbush Securities, told TheWrap.

The Queen's Ball: A Bridgerton Experience
The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Netflix)

“You have ‘Stranger Things,’ ‘Squid Game,’ ‘Bridgerton’ and millions of shows and movies in between that aren’t going to be big enough to sustain this model that they’ve had with ‘Bridgerton,’” but a few have, and some of them have been surprises,” Reese said. 

Netflix declined to share budget figures for “Bridgerton.” The show reportedly costs about $7 million per episode and is on par with premiere shows like “The Crown,” which Netflix spent a reported $130 million on for the first two seasons (it ran for six.) Disney, by comparison, has reaped millions in ancillary revenues from some of its franchise shows. “The Mandalorian” has 47 separate products listed on the Disney Store website alone, not including options at Target and Walmart, and Disney has adapted its product line for its theme parks.

A decade-long strategy

Netflix has only formally renewed “Bridgerton” for a fourth season, but it looks likely the franchise will get all eight installments. This season the saga of Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) and Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) — Lady Whistledown herself — captivated viewers who watched their friendship turn into a love match, then curdle into a feminist drama (well, a Regency era version, anyway).

While “Stranger Things” flashed similar ancillary value from merch and partnerships, such as a haunted experience during Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights, that series only released four seasons in eight years. By contrast, “Bridgerton” has released three seasons in four years. 

Of course, the show itself continues to be highly valuable to Netflix on its own, and not only the main series itself but also the spin-off, “Queen Charlotte,” which has garnered about 8.3 million views, according to Netflix top 10 reports released since the “Bridgerton” Season 3 Part 1 premiere on May 16.

The Queen Charlotte throne room in “Bridgerton” (Netflix)

Seasons 1 and 2 of “Bridgerton” currently hold down two spots on the top 10 globally most-watched English series on Netflix to date. Season 3 will likely enter the streamer’s most-popular list soon, with the new installment sitting atop the most-watched TV list for six weeks in a row and counting.

Though “Stranger Things” might score higher when it comes to overall viewership, the massive production can’t crank out seasons at the same rate as “Bridgerton” — it’s been over two years since “Stranger Things 4” was released and the fifth and final season is only halfway through production. “Bridgerton” is currently running on a biannual release schedule, though showrunner Jess Brownell told TheWrap she’s hoping to speed up the start time between seasons, (even if she rules out a yearly release).

“This is such a giant production,” Brownell said. “It’s like making eight short feature films, just in terms of how many storylines we have to write, and then the production obviously is an enormous undertaking. We are doing everything in our power to start releasing seasons more quickly, but once a year might be a hard target to hit.”

“Stranger Things” is reaching its final chapter, “Squid Game” is only entering its second season and the future of “Wednesday” (beyond Season 2) hinges on the availability of rising star Jenna Ortega. With that in mind, “Bridgerton” is a strong bet to thrive for years to come as it draws from Julia Quinn’s eight-book series. Brownell has said the team will likely follow the books to guarantee each Bridgerton sibling a satisfying ending. Plus, given the success of “Queen Charlotte,” which debuted in between Seasons 2 and 3, there’s the potential for further spin-off series, all adding fuel to the “Bridgerton” business fire.

Ramping up partnerships

The “Bridgerton” merchandise strategy initially resembled that of mega hits like “Stranger Things” and “Squid Game,” with themed clothing sold by Netflix. The streamer has steadily expanded its “Bridgerton” products with a Republic of Tea partnership that sold character and couple-themed tea and accessories, makeup collaborations with Kiko Milano and Pat McGrath Labs, as well as a bridal collection with Allure Bridal. 

The Season 3 release upped the game significantly by striking collaborations with coffee creamer brand International Delight and even Flonase — the allergy relief partnership was a play on “Polin,” the ship name for Season 3’s central couple Penelope and Colin.

Adjoa Andoh and Daniel Francis in “Bridgerton” (Liam Daniel/Netflix)

Netflix declined to share exact figures on the show’s partnerships. Forbes reported that skincare retailer Lush saw a 25% uptick in monthly subscribers since the launch of its “Bridgerton” collection — with 20% of sales coming from new customers — while the “Bridgerton” products accounted for 4% of Bath and Body Works’ total company sales. The partnerships utilize a consumer products licensing model that is similar to what Disney does, according to an individual with knowledge of the deals.

After the inaugural season’s smash success in 2020, Netflix mobilized to launch a “Bridgerton”-themed live events business. The first Queen’s Ball took place in March 2022 in Los Angeles. The 90-minute immersive experience, which typically costs under $100 for a general admission entrance, has since expanded to just under a dozen cities across the U.S. and the globe, and in May it made its Australian debut in Melbourne. 

During Season 3, New York City has been the site of several fan-centric events, including a “Bridgerton” promenade, a fan screening and a world premiere. Fans can also participate in a “Bridgerton” themed tea at The Lanesborough in London, as well as a fan experience at the Banyan Tree Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

On a local level, production on the romance series boosted the U.K. economy by over £275 million ($350 million) and has supported almost 5,000 businesses over the past five years. That includes the impact of direct and indirect spending on vendors as well as supply chain costs, according to a June Netflix report. Visits to “Bridgerton” filming locations also contributed over £5 million ( $6.31 million) to the local economy in Bath, Bristol and surrounding areas, per Visit West.

A bright future

“Bridgerton” will serve as a cornerstone for Netflix’s first foray into its version of permanent live events — perhaps a stepping stone to an eventual parks business — at the upcoming Netflix Houses in Dallas and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, where fans can waltz on a replica of a “Bridgerton” set. With an additional five seasons of “Bridgerton” to tap into — which, at its current cadence, would bring the show through roughly 2034 — the streamer hopes to reap the benefits for years to come.

Reese anticipates the partnerships will continue to thrive as long as the show remains popular and “as long as there’s a return on investment there,” noting Netflix will likely “have as much success ratio on content as they have in the past.”

“If and when that series fizzles out, they’ll have other content that they can grow, or they can layer on more of these experiential content hubs,” she said.


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