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Netflix and DreamWorks Animation today announced a multi-year deal making the world’s largest Internet TV network the premiere home of new original series from the award-winning creators of global box-office hits including the Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon franchises
“DreamWorks Animation is a valued partner in our global efforts to provide families the most engaging stories delivered however, whenever and wherever they want,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “This deal represents a major expansion of what’s already a phenomenal relationship, allowing us to bring beloved DreamWorks characters to the 40 countries where Netflix operates and setting the stage for us to innovate together as we expand into new markets.”
“This is an unprecedented commitment to original content in the internet television space,” said DreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Katzenberg. “Netflix is a visionary company that continues to redefine the way audiences watch television and it is a thrill to add to their growing momentum.”
This agreement, which marks the largest deal for original first-run content in Netflix history, is also the first time DreamWorks Animation’s beloved characters will be introduced into the television market as a branded collection of shows.
From the NYTs:
A DreamWorks Animation spokeswoman declined to provide more details, including financial terms. Jeffrey Katzenberg, the studio’s chief executive, plans to outline his TV strategy in a conference call on Tuesday with analysts and reporters.
DreamWorks Animation had three primary TV options: starting a cable channel of its own, perhaps in partnership with 21st Century Fox, which distributes its movies; teaming with an upstart children’s network like the Hub (or taking it over); or bypassing cable completely and going with Netflix.
Mr. Katzenberg and his company parted ways with HBO in 2011, opting instead to distribute their films and television specials through Netflix. Mr. Katzenberg and Netflix announced this year that a new episodic series called “Turbo: F.A.S.T.” would come to the streaming service in December. (It is based on “Turbo,” a film that arrives in theaters on July 17 and features a speedy snail.)
For Netflix, the DreamWorks Animation programming will help fill a hole left by Nickelodeon. Because of a dispute over terms, Netflix declined this year to renew its contract with Viacom, Nickelodeon’s corporate parent. (Viacom in turn made a deal with Amazon this month for Nickelodeon shows like “Dora the Explorer.”) New films from Disney and Pixar will move to Netflix from Starz in late 2016.
The groundbreaking deal, which encompasses over 300 hours of new programming, is a cornerstone of a major initiative by DreamWorks Animation to greatly expand its television production and distribution worldwide. The new shows will be inspired by characters from DreamWorks Animation’s hit franchises and upcoming feature films as well as the vast Classic Media library, which DreamWorks acquired in 2012 and includes some of the most popular animated characters in history.
With the first series expected to begin airing in 2014, Netflix will premiere these new DreamWorks Animation shows in all the territories in which it operates.
In February, Netflix and DreamWorks announced their first ever Netflix Original Series for kids based on the highly-anticipated film Turbo, premiering on July 17. Turbo F.A.S.T, an episodic animated programme, which picks up with the speedy snail where the feature film left off, will be available in all Netflix territories beginning in December.
In addition to character-based selections, the service displays rows of TV shows and movies organized by easy-to-understand genres such as superheroes, princesses, dinosaurs and girl power. The unique Netflix technology provides each member with a personalized experience based on preferences and favorites.