In what could be a blueprint for a much rumored U.S. network, DreamWorks Animation today announced a new TV channel to broadcast to 19 Asian countries. “Audiences in the region have always embraced our content and now they can engage with their favorite DreamWorks characters — as well as new ones — where and when they choose, across multiple-screens and in local languages,” said Eric Ellenbogen, co-chief of DWA International TV Tuesday.
Aiming to hit the airwaves in the second half of 2015, the new DWA channel will pull from the company’s library with the likes of the How To Train Your Dragon small screen spinoff, the new preschool VeggieTales in the House, 2000 hours of already produced TV programming and 1200 hours of material currently in production like the upcoming All Hail King Julien. HBO Asia will handle the tech duties, sales and marketing role for the new DreamWorks Channel the company says. DWA actually cut it content deals with the Time Warner owned cabler in 2011 to ink agreements with Netflix for 300 hours of TV material. First on the track was Turbo F.A.S.T. Based on the feature of the almost same name, the series started streaming on the service’s Netflix Kids last year.
The self-described 24/7 network from the heavily Asian focused Jeffrey Katzenberg run ‘toon studio will be broadcast in Taiwan, Macao, South Korea, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, Burma, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Mongolia, Palau and Tahiti. Noticeably mainland China, where DWA has heavily invested in recent years, is absent from the list.
Strategically, the countries that are on the list are those where Netflix is currently not available so DWA can launch with the likes of Turbo F.A.S.T. and others that they have deals with the streaming service for in North America, Europe and other territories. With that in mind, in many ways, today’s announcement comes as a small surprise as Katzenberg over a year and a half ago admitted his “interest” in an expansion into a TV initiative in some form or the company and its content.