Viacom Who? Netflix to Launch Original Series Based on DreamWorks Franchises

/ Jun 17, 2013


Earlier this year, Netflix and DreamWorks Animation struck a deal to develop an original TV series based on an upcoming feature film from the studio, “Turbo.” The original series, “Turbo F.A.S.T.” will pick up from where the movie left off, and is scheduled to premiere in all Netflix territories this December. It was a pretty big deal, especially considering how Netflix has a section devoted entirely to providing kids programming via curated genres like princesses, superheroes, and dinosaurs.

Now, Netflix is making an even bigger bet on kids programming via a new multiyear deal with DreamWorks Animation, which will develop and launch more than 300 hours of original programming based on the studio’s franchises like “Shrek,” “Kung Fu Panda,” and “How to Train Your Dragon.”

Per the deal, Netflix will have exclusive first-run rights in all of its territories for DreamWorks’ slate of original shows. While it isn’t exactly clear which film franchises will be developed into TV-like shows, the announcement indicates that the deal 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.”

The first series from this deal will arrive on Netflix in 2014, and they will be available in every territory the service operates in, including North America, Latin America, the UK, and Scandinavia.

Last month, Netflix chose not to renew its licensing deal with Viacom to offer kids shows such as “Dora the Explorer” and “SpongeBob SquarePants” on its streaming service. While the company has moved to offset that loss of content by signing a new licensing deal with Disney to add kids shows like “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” and “JoJo’s Circus,” this deal takes it a step further by introducing fresh original content from some of the biggest kids’ properties in the past decade. With a deal like this in the works, no wonder Netflix was comfortable with letting the Viacom agreement expire.

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