DreamWorks Animation shares are up more than 9% pre-market while Netflix is up more than 5% after striking what it calls its largest-ever original content deal. The studio will produce at least 300 hours of programming exclusively for Netflix that will run across its global markets over several years. DWA says that makes this “a cornerstone of a major initiative” to “greatly expand its television production and distribution worldwide.” The shows will be “inspired by” DWA characters as well as ones from the Classic Media library it bought last year. The first series in this deal will air in 2014. (The companies had previously announced that DWA will produce an animated series for Netflix, Turbo F.A.S.T, that will be available in December.) Although the companies are short on details, the news reassures investors that Netflix and DWA can carry on nicely after each allowed carriage deals with Viacom to lapse. Netflix should have an ample supply of children’s programming even without contributions from Nickelodeon. Netflix says it wants to focus on shows it can offer exclusively. Although it continues to negotiate with Viacom, the entertainment giant recently agreed to let Amazon stream several hit shows from channels including Nickelodeon and MTV. Meanwhile DWA has clarified its TV production strategy, which had been a question after it decided to let Fox take over the film distribution chores previously handled by Viacom’s Paramount. The new deal with Netflix should benefit DWA by keeping its “film franchises relevant/front of mind for audiences in between movies,” Stifel analyst Benjamin Mogil says. He considers the deal “a complete replacement from its earlier Viacom (Nickelodeon) deal, consistent with its split from Paramount.”
Here’s today’s release from DreamWorks Animation and Netflix:
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., June 17, 2013 — Netflix Inc. and DreamWorks Animation (Nasdaq: DWA) 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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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 series which picks up with the speedy snail where the feature film left off, will be available in all Netflix territories beginning in December.
Also coming exclusively to Netflix in the U.S. and Latin America next year will be new DreamWorks Animation feature films, beginning with the global hit The Croods, which grossed more than $575 million at the worldwide box office , followed by Turbo and the big screen adaption of Mr. Peabody and Sherman, which opens in theaters in March of 2014.
Always commercial free, the content in the kids section of Netflix is curated in conjunction with ratings and reviews from Common Sense Media, a leading non-profit organization that provides independent, trustworthy ratings, reviews and information to help parents make great media choices. 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