Netflix CEO Reed Hastings made good on his promise that his company would soon begin offering new streaming content. DreamWorks Animation confirmed it had signed a deal to offer its movies and television specials through Netflix, rather than via its existing deal with HBO. Analysts estimate the pact is worth $30 million per picture to DreamWorks, according to the New York Times, which broke the story. This marks the first time a major studio has chosen a streaming service in preference to a pay television partner, the paper added.
DreamWorks content will start appearing on Netflix in 2013, a year in which the studio is scheduled to release three movies. Its library already contains huge family-friendly hits like the Shrek franchise, the two Kung Fu Panda movies, Antz and Madagascar.
One key point of the deal may prove increasingly important by then. In addition to the licensing revenue, Netflix will allow DreamWorks Animation to sell digital downloads simultaneously with the title being offered for streaming. In contrast, all of HBO’s studio partners must provide it with an exclusive window. HBO released DreamWorks Animation from its contract two years early.
“This is a game-changing deal,” the studio’s chief executive Jeffrey Katzenberg told the New York Times. “We are really starting to see a long-term road map of where the industry is headed.”
Netflix also in reportedly in talks with Warner Bros. to offer television programs including Gossip Girl and Vampire Diaries and is ramping up its efforts to acquire the American rights to overseas properties. Last week Netflix announced a deal with Discovery Communications that includes programs from Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel.
In February, Netflix is due to lose movies from Walt Disney Studios and Sony Pictures Entertainment, following the end of its licensing agreement with Starz premium network.
The movies DreamWorks Animation movies currently in pre-production for 2013 release include: The Croods, a prehistoric generation gap comedy starring the voices of Nicolas Cage , Ryan Reynolds , Emma Stone and Catherine Keener, in March; Turbo, the adventures of a garden whose dreams of becoming the fastest snail in the world just may come true, in July; and Me and My Shadow, which will combine CGI and traditional animation techniques to tell the story of a frustrated shadow who yearns to break free from his boring human named Stanley Grubb, in November. In 2014, Robert Downey Jr. is scheduled to voice Mr. Peabody the dog in Peabody & Sherman, a comedy adventure based on characters from Jay Ward’s pun-laden The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show cartoons.
New York Times – http://tinyurl.com/3nfj6v6
Financial Times – http://tinyurl.com/3cmb6zv