Lucrative investment in Harry and Meghan will pay off for Netflix, says expert

Business School professor believes multi-million pound streaming deal will provide huge boost to popular TV show The Crown

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s burgeoning relationship with Netflix could boost popular TV show The Crown to new heights, despite their lack of experience in creative storytelling.

That is the view of Professor Simone Ferriani, Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Business School (formerly Cass) and at the University of Bologna, who believes the streaming giant has acted shrewdly in their £109 million investment in Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Last autumn, the couple signed a multi-year deal with Netflix to produce documentaries, feature films, scripted television shows and children’s series. It was recently announced that Harry signed a lucrative million deal for his memoir, while Meghan will act as an Executive Producer on Pearl, which will follow a 12-year-old girl's ‘heroic adventures’ as she speaks with significant women from throughout history.

Professor Ferriani believes the forthcoming fifth and sixth series of The Crown, which will detail the Queen’s reign into the 21st Century, promises to benefit Netflix with coverage of Megxit – Harry and Meghan’s decision to retire for royal duties.

“I think that to appreciate the strategic thinking behind the deal with Meghan and Harry you must look at it against the background of the Netflix series The Crown. This is no ordinary series. We are talking about one of the most successful titles ever in the history of Netflix. A series that has become so globally popular it has driven up subscriptions, according to some estimates, by two to three per cent alone (as many as six million new members).

“The key thing will be Megxit, which is arguably the event that captured most global headlines in the post-Diana history of the Royal Family. Think about the heightened resonance that the new seasons of The Crown will have now that the two real-life Royals have become Netflix’s content producers.

“Even if officially Meghan and Harry have no dealings with The Crown for me it is obvious that their becoming part of the Netflix family will take The Crown to a whole new level of verisimilitude, fuelling global cultural zeitgeist and added audience demand.”

Last year saw the creation of the couple branch out into creative content, with the foundation of Archewell Productions. While Professor Ferriani says there is little to support Netflix’s claims that the pair have an eye for storytelling, he is confident the deal will be to all’s benefit because of the enormous interest in the couple.

“While Archewell Productions has no track record whatsoever to suggest that Harry and Meghan have an eye for exceptional content and storytelling, their status as iconic artefacts of pop culture is a very tangible marketing booster. Just consider the astounding ratings of Meghan and Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, a cultural sensation that averaged more than 17 million viewers in the USA alone. This is a great example of the potential synergistic effect of the Meghan and Harry and The Crown brands.

“The Crown helped pave the way for the American public sympathy toward Megxit, and the extraordinary interest in Meghan and Harry will loop back around into new craze for future seasons of The Crown. Add to this the fact that high-status people want to be around other high-status people so, just like the Obamas (who too in 2019 signed a multi-year production deal with Netflix), Meghan and Harry may prove to be invaluable as magnet for other deals and talents.”

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