For Netflix it’s part of a larger initiative to invest more in original programming and let most of its exclusive deals for existing content expire, which the company has always said cost them about the same anyway. It also gives them an identity as not just as a delivery vehicle for existing programming, but also a new home for series that may not be good fit for network television, but could find a niche audience and prosper on a platform like Netflix. Particularly with the recent success of their latest investment, “Arrested Development” and “House of Cards”.
The DreamWorks multi-year deal includes over 300-hours of original programming in the form of TV series based on DreamWorks characters. With 2014 being the target date for some of the first series to run, which will be based on popular characters like “Shrek”, “Madagascar”, “Kung Fu Panda” and “How to Train Your Dragon”. Presumably there will be series based on these characters produced exclusively for Netflix, hoping to lure a younger demographic with age appropriate content that can compete with traditional TV fare.
According to the piece in Entertainment Weekly, DreamWorks who has been looking to expand its production capabilities and worldwide distribution, will be well served with the 40 different countries that Netflix will be showing the new series in.
Also part of the deal is Netflix’s access to the DreamWorks massive Classic Media Library acquired last year, including titles like “Rocky & Bullwinkle”, “Lassie”, “Casper” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”, clearly part of the shifting target demographic.
Recently Netflix has had a string of attention for it’s savvy investments and shifting strategy from competing solely on it’s distribution of existing content to a more compelling model to compete on which includes not only distribution and ease of use to luring users with original content that can truly compete with traditional TV. Also of note is a smaller deal with DreamWorks previously in place that will air original series based on “Turbo” which will be in theaters next month, and the series titled “Turbo F.A.S.T.”, will begin showing in December.