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NME makes a surprise, brief return to print for Netflix campaign


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

February 15, 2019 | 4 min read

Netflix has partnered with NME to release a one-shot issue of its now-defunct print magazine to build a buzz around the launch of its latest original show, The Umbrella Academy.


NME returns to print with Netflix partnership

Although NME wrapped up its print run last year, it will be distributing 50,000 of magazines across the UK from Friday (15 February.)

With the takeover, which was brokered by Wavemaker, Netflix new series The Umbrella Academy will gain an audience of music lovers – chiefly relevant because the comic-book source material behind the show was penned by former My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way and artist Gabriel Bá.

Within the issue will be exclusive content, cast interviews and a bespoke short comic written and illustrated for the special edition.

NME has been around since 1952. It caused ripples upon its closure last year, which was engineered to let the business focus on a digital strategy instead.

“When the mag closed, we had a real rethink of the brand, what it stood it for and how we can continue to attract young digital-savvy audiences,” editor Charlotte Gunn previously told The Drum.

The issue will be available at independent record stores, comic outlets and gigs.

Holly Bishop, head of film, music and entertainment at NME's parent company TI Media, said: “NME’s audience has been talking about The Umbrella Academy since news first broke of its release. Joining forces with Netflix, our worlds have come together to create this collectible one-shot which we know will surprise and delight fans. As the biggest, loudest and most opinionated voice of Pop Culture, NME is the perfect partner for this unmissable series.”

NME’s Instagram will also roll out bespoke content causing a stir around the series.

Neil Bamford, print brands manager at Wavemaker, added: “While this is a completely cross-media campaign, the return to print for NME has added a real sense of occasion to the release of The Umbrella Academy and was the only way we could truly do justice to the launch of a series that started its life as a graphic novel. NME’s unique relationship with Gerard Way and the music scene in general, coupled with their unrivaled access to an audience who have been hungry for the release of the show, made them the ideal partner for this campaign.”

Of course, comics are a space Netflix has a renewed interest in as the owner of the MillarWorld stable which houses titles like Kickass, Wanted and Kingsman since 2017. The company snapped up the talent house and IPs of the title in a deal - the success of this deal which spans, music, comics and TV may inform future media strategies in promoting these entities.

On the appeal of comics, MillarWorld founder Mark Miller previously told The Drum: "These characters are always big in economic recession, war, bad news headlines and financial crashes. Sales are terrible during an economic boom."

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