According to the NY Times, Netflix and DreamWorks Animation have agreed to a deal for the studio to provide 300 hours of original programming. They could have gone with a cable channel, but instead, they chose the subscription service (who’s been hurting for kids’ programs with the end of their deal with Nickelodeon). DreamWorks reportedly finds the movie business overly volatile and seeks the relative safety of a TV structure. One of their more recent films, Rise of the Guardians, was a flop that required an $87 million write-down and damaged their stock performance.
The new programs will be “inspired” by characters from past DreamWorks Animation franchises, which include Shrek and The Croods, and its coming feature films. Series will also come from Classic Media, which the studio bought last year. Classic Media’s holdings include characters like Casper the Friendly Ghost, Lassie, She-Ra, and Mr. Magoo.
DreamWorks Animation currently has DreamWorks Dragons: Riders of Berk running on Cartoon Network and three others made by Nickelodeon. One of the Netflix shows, debuting in December, will be Turbo: F.A.S.T., based on the movie opening July 17 about a fast snail.
Childrens’ programming is apparently considered less risky than other types, according to this analysis:
Children are avid streaming consumers, particularly overseas, and cartoons allow the company to pitch itself to parents as a commercial-free alternative to television. Animated shows for younger viewers are also less likely to appear on the pirated-content sites that compete with Netflix for viewers.