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Brief Published: 17 Oct 2018

Retail Storytelling: Ntwrk App Taps Episodic Live Content


Retailers are transforming into media entities and turning to broadcasting to reach those four out of five millennials who consider video content when researching a purchase decision (SMT, 2017). Ntwrk – dubbed “QVC meets Comic-Con” – is a new player that wants to redefine commerce’s modus operandi by melding TV, retail and the gloriously nerdy enthusiasm of convention culture.

The app-based concept was launched by US streetwear visionary Aaron Levant, founder of street culture convention ComplexCon and streetwear trade show turned marketing festival Agenda (for more, see our blog). Ntwrk sells goods via bite-sized video broadcasts, celebrity-packed episodic content (think game shows featuring prime-time chefs and hardcore rappers), and shoppable, physical pop-up theme parks.

Setting Ntwrk apart from its traditional counterparts (including QVC), shopping will be frictionless, with users able to save their credit card details and make purchases without leaving the entertainment environment. Categories include gaming, music, streetwear and art, and everything sold is a Ntwrk exclusive, with prices ranging from $45-$300. However, limited editions or collectable items exceed this in some cases.

Broadcasts come in two formats that are both relatively short but focused, appealing to Gen Z and Y’s desire for high-quality content in short bursts. Supermarket is a celebrity-hosted 15-minute themed show (Monday is about selling games, Wednesday about fashion etc), which currently runs three days a week but aims to increase to seven in 2019. The Meltdown is a weekly late-night Q&A show hosted by US comedian Eric Andre.

Ntwrk benefits from heavyweight funding from investors including Warner Bros’ digital content division Digital Networks, US basketball icon LeBron James, and Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Ntwrk plans to open ticketed 30-day-long theme parks in 2019. “They’ll be like Instagram factories and shoppable via e-commerce,” says Levant.

See also Live Commerce is Impacting Retail.