DreamWorks Partners With Netflix to Deliver Original Content
Netflix pretty much wants to own streaming original content.
DreamWorks has made a deal with Netflix to provide the streaming service with 300 hours of original TV series. A spin-off series to the upcoming animated movie Turbo has been confirmed, and other Netflix-original shows based on DreamWorks characters are to follow. Yeah, this is real life.
Netflix is hoping that this deal will make up for a dearth of content, especially when it comes to children’s programming. Its streaming catalog lost the rights to stream 1,800 titles last month, including many kids’ shows such as Barney and Bob The Builder, and more recently let its deal for Viacom content expire, taking away Netflix subscribers’ access to Nickelodeon shows like SpongeBob SquarePants. Amazon quickly scooped up Nickelodeon content for its Prime service after Netflix lost it.
The episodic series Turbo: F.A.S.T., based on the upcoming DreamWorks animated movie Turbo, will arrive on Netflix in December. Turbo is about a snail who wants to race in the Indianapolis 500, slavishly following the Mad Libs Animal Movie Formula of (Downtrodden [Animal] Attempts [Improbable Activity For Their Species] And Succeeds Thanks to Quirky Friends and Belief In Self) that has worked wonders since Babe. That’ll do, snail. That’ll do.
DreamWorks could be aiming toward making shows based on its popular movies like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and Madagascar, but the animation studio also has the rights to some older characters from the Classic Movie library, such as Casper the Friendly Ghost, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and Bill Cosby’s Fat Albert. DreamWorks is already making a film based on the time-traveling Rocky and Bullwinkle characters Mr. Peabody and Sherman.
Netflix original content is becoming an increasingly weighty part of its overall business strategy. However, the DreamWorks deal is just one more ‘original’ product that isn’t quite original. Netflix revived an established product in Arrested Development, House of Cards was based on a previous series, and Hemlock Grove was based on a novel. We’ll really see if Netflix can compete with broadcast and cable TV when it has the confidence to make more risky investments in original content.