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Web first: DreamWorks, Netflix in deal

Brooks Barnes/NYT  Los Angeles, June 18, 2013
First Published: 21:35 IST(18/6/2013) | Last Updated: 02:25 IST(19/6/2013)

DreamWorks Animation, trying to lessen its dependence on the volatile movie business by aggressively expanding into TV programming, has decided to forgo cable television in favor of Netflix.


In a multi-year deal announced Monday, DreamWorks will supply a flood of new episodic TV programmes to the internet streaming service. The partnership calls for 300 hours of original programming, perhaps the biggest commitment yet to bring Hollywood-caliber content to the Web first.

The new programmes will be "inspired" by characters from past DreamWorks’ franchises, like "Shrek" and "The Croods," and its coming feature films. Series will also come from Classic Media — which the studio bought last year — featuring Casper the Friendly Ghost, Lassie, She-Ra and Mr. Magoo.

The agreement is the latest in the hotly-competitive market for streaming content, with major services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon vying to capture viewers who are gravitating to the Web, especially younger ones.

DreamWorks’ primary focus has been the release of about two costly movies a year — a strong success record — but one miss can send its stock price plummeting, as was the case with last year’s "Rise of the Guardians" underperforming and the company taking an $87 million write-down tied to the film.

Investors on Monday responded favorably to the announcement, driving Netflix shares up more than 7%, to $229.23, and DreamWorks Animation shares up about 4%, to $23.74.

The first of the new DreamWorks Animation programmes will appear on Netflix next year, reaching out to about 27 million streaming subscribers in the US.

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