Building an Empire: How Netflix’s Narcos Has Grown to Become a Multi-Media Hit

Netflix has been on a fascinating journey since it was founded in 1997, growing from simply being a platform for hosting film and TV titles to producing its very own original content – serving over 182 million paid subscribers across the world as of April 2020.

A fair share of its output has gone on to be hugely successful too, with Stranger Things becoming a big hit and the frankly bizarre Tiger King emerging to be the real TV talking point of 2020. However, one of Netflix’s biggest original successes is arguably Narcos, a gripping drama which has had a major impact in many ways.

A small screen hit

Created by Chris Brancato, Carlo Bernard and Doug Miro and originally launched in 2015, the series started out as a look at Colombia’s notorious criminal underworld, although its reach in recent years has extended to a spin-off based in Mexico.

The show has enjoyed plenty of acclaim and also featured some top class acting talent along the way. Pedro Pascal was probably best known for his memorable role in Game of Thrones before he was cast in the series and he has subsequently gone on to be the man underneath the helmet in Disney+’s hugely successful Star Wars series The Mandalorian. Coincidentally, Narcos Mexico star Diego Luna has also found himself in a galaxy far far away, as he appeared in Rogue One and is set to get his own TV series on Disney+ as well.

But while Narcos has proven to be a real hit on the small screen, the franchise now looks set to branch into a very different kind area which many might not have seen coming – the world of fashion.

A new clothing range

WWD revealed towards the end of April that the show’s makers, Gaumont International Television, have struck a deal with an e-commerce platform called Dropdaze to create a fashion brand based on the series.

A host of different items of clothing are set to be included in the range, with WWD explaining that it will feature military-style jackets and pants alongside t-shirts, hoodies and soccer uniform sets. Jewelry and other accessories and lifestyle goods are expected to be featured among the creations too. It is anticipated that the range will be available to buy online later this year, while it may also be made available at pop-up sites in some areas too.

It might seem odd to see a clothing line inspired by a crime drama emerge, but the announcement arguably builds on the sizable presence that Narcos now has in a range of areas. In fact, it could be said that the franchise has well and truly become a multi-media empire.

Success in many forms

The Narcos name has gone on to have success in a range of forms. For example, you may not realize that the TV show has inspired a four-issue mini-series of graphic novels produced by IDW Publishing which have been written by Ryan Ferrier with art by Vic Malhotra.

It has also developed a foothold in the technology world too, with Kuju and Curve Digital combining to release the turn-based strategy video game Narcos: Rise of the Cartels in November 2019. In addition, FTX Games has also created the mobile strategy title Narcos: Cartel Wars, which can be played on both Android and iOS devices. The Narcos brand has even taken a step into the online casino world too. The industry has grown massively in recent years and it has become common to see sites offer slots based on a range of different themes. Betway casino offers a Narcos slot alongside several others inspired by TV and film hits, including Game of Thrones and Jurassic Park. For those who prefer something a little more old-school, there is even an official Narcos board game. According to, the game is for up to five players and sees one take on the role of the Patron and others become the factions which are trying to find him.

A fully-fledged franchise

When all of that is considered, it is fair to say that Narcos has succeeded in growing purely from a TV drama to a fully-fledged franchise which has a hand in many different areas.

Its move into the fashion world may seem odd at first glance but, in a way, it could be seen as a natural progression considering the other places that the Narcos name can already be found. It is a true multimedia empire in every sense of the word and it will be fascinating to see where else it could pop up in the months and years ahead.

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

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