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Illustration:Rebecca Zisser/Axios

After years of dominating video streaming, Netflix is beginning to eye new business lines that could help it stay ahead of competitors.

Driving the news: The company on Thursday unveiled an online merchandise store, Netflix.shop, that features products inspired by shows on its streaming platform.

  • The store marks Netflix's first foray into commerce — something other entertainment giants like Disney and NBCUniversal have long used to make more money and expand their content franchises.
  • The tech giant is eyeing gaming, possibly with the launch of a suite of downloadable mobile games, per Axios' Stephen Totilo.
  • It's also pushing deeper into podcasts as a vehicle to promote its shows and movies, per the Los Angeles Times.

Be smart: Netflix's new ventures may help the streaming giant make a little more ancillary cash, but ultimately these investments are about finding more ways to help its audience connect to its streaming content and characters.

  • Disney has a similar model, using its massive library of characters and classics to create theme parks, cruise lines and resort experiences.

The big picture: For years, Netflix owned the video streaming market, amassing a massive subscriber base while other entertainment companies fell way behind.

  • But over the past few months, the company has started to face increased competition from established streaming services like Amazon Prime and Hulu, and new competitors, including Disney+, NBCU's Peacock, HBO Max, Discovery+, Paramount+ and others.

What to watch: Netflix has pivoted its business model before from DVDs to streaming, so if any of these new ventures were to manifest into something meaningful, the company has proved it isn't afraid to double down on what works.

Go deeper: Streaming competitors close in on Netflix in U.S.

Go deeper

The age of the à la carte internet

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Media that were once free or easily accessible — including news websites, podcasts, TV shows and games — rushed to get behind paywalls during the pandemic.

Why it matters: This accelerating trend is carving the internet into many niche audiences, Balkanizing our collective media diets.

House passes $768 billion defense spending bill

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House approved a $768 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2022 fiscal year in a bipartisan 316-113 vote on Thursday.

Why it matters: The annual bill, which authorizes Pentagon spending levels and guides policy for the department, would require women to register for the military draft, among other provisions.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans’ secret lobbying

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The five Senate Republicans who helped negotiate and draft the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill have been privately courting their Republican colleagues to pass the measure in the House.

Why it matters: House GOP leaders are actively urging their members to oppose the bill. The senators are working to undercut that effort as Monday shapes up as a do-or-die moment for the bipartisan bill.