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Is now the time for streaming giant Netflix to launch its own talent agency?

Sedge Beswick is the managing director and founder of Seen Connects, an innovative, global influencer and social marketing agency.

Is now the time for streaming giant Netflix to launch its own talent agency?

With Netflix‘s success creating glamourous (low cost) reality television shows that are proving popular, SeenCreates founder Sedge Beswick posits the idea that the global streaming platform maybe setting itself up for a new revenue stream in the process.

Here’s a thought. What if Netflix created its own talent agency? Not only to reap the benefits of its star-producing streaming hits, but to cast its future productions too? If this idea feels a little leftfield to you, chances are you missed Selling Sunset’s Season three premiere last weekend.

For the uninitiated, this glossy Netflix original reality show is set at the offices and show homes of luxury real estate company, The Oppenheim Group. But Location, Location, Location this is not. The cast? A line-up of Instagram-ready, undeniably gorgeous realtors whose stardom – and social followings – have skyrocketed since the show’s launch.

Netflix became more important than ever while the world hung up its party shoes and locked down. Entertainment aside, another unexpected gap that the streaming giant has managed to fill? The aspirational, influencer space. Its 2020 biggest hits – from Cheer, to Queer Eye to Selling Sunset – have unleashed a whole new crop of influencers onto social media, and we can’t get enough of them.

Take Cheer – the sweet, innocent, sporty, inspiring cheerleading show that hooked us in early this year. Since the series finished, its unsuspecting stars have been seen on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, front row at a New York Fashion Week show, and securing brand deals aplenty.

As The Guardian rightly observed: “The biggest catalyst for Cheer’s rocket to fame is the subject’s natural command of social media, and in particular, the skill of the influencer. On a base level, professional influencing and competitive cheer share the same DNA: having ’the look’, the fantasy of being perfect… a smooth, flawless finish.”

The same goes for Queer Eye – a masterclass in branding, tag-lines and securing the very best spin-off opportunities. Each of its Fab Five has his own thing, a niche that comes packaged up with signature sayings, style and USPs. And thus, a lifetime of spin off shows, solo ventures and Instagram influence was born.

But back to Selling Sunset. So much more than a commission cash cow for the agency – its stars will join the Netflix 2020 alumni in lining up their own brand deals and partnerships now too. Take cast member Chrishell Stause – an aspiring actor who has previously guest performed in Days Of Our Lives. Although she began Selling Sunset with a decent 227k following, her audience has since grown from 754k to 921k followers since the season three release. In fact she saw a 8.2% increase in followers since the series dropped last weekend alone. Growth that any influencer – or their agent – could only dream of.

Then there’s Mary Fitzgerald – a cast member and realtor who began the show with 99k followers and now posts to just shy of 600k fans every day, and has secured brand partnerships with the likes of beauty brands Iconic London and Sephora.

So why would – or should – Netflix find and fuel its own talent in a more formal, structured way? The integration and 360 treatment they can offer give it an opportunity and scale that a talent agency in silo could never achieve. In-house publicity department? They already have that. Opportunities for product placement, reach, visibility and promotion on screen? Check. A goldmine of data, smart calendars and viewer preferences all of its own? Yep, got it. And the undivided attention of the world most evenings? Yep, they’ve got that too.