In a move that further emphasizes the growing impact of streaming video over paid TV channels, DreamWorks Animation has passed on a deal with HBO to stream its content on Netflix instead. This comes after the failure to renegotiate a new deal with Starz, which said that come February, it will no longer be streaming content on Netflix that includes movies from Sony and Disney. So, score one for streaming video and Netflix, which really, really needed a victory.
Starting in 2013, when DreamWorks has three new movies coming out (The Croods, Turbo, and the Rocky & Bullwinkle spinoff Peabody & Sherman), Netflix will begin to offer titles including Antz and Kung Fu Panda. The sequel to the latter was a huge box office hit this summer, and both Netflix and DreamWorks were interested in putting a focus on successful family films. By offering their movies exclusively through Netflix, DreamWorks expects to make $30 million per title over time.
For his part, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg thinks that streaming is the wave of the future, and that even while Netflix took hits in the press for their move to separate their streaming and DVD services, it will eventually be a worthwhile decision.
“We are really starting to see a long-term road map of where the industry is headed,” Mr. Katzenberg said in an interview. “This is a game-changing deal.”
And on the split:
“Could it have been handled better? Absolutely,” he added. “But there are always bumps when you’re looking around a corner.”
As for Netflix’s side, they see it as an empowering move for content creators, giving them control over how their audiences see their movies:
Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, added: “You’re seeing power moving back into the hands of content creators. When a company like DreamWorks ends a long-running pay TV deal — when a new buyer in the space steps up — that’s a really interesting landscape shift.”
It looks like Netflix and the companies with whom they do business are going completely on faith. But when you consider the utter convenience of having on-demand streaming, you could hardly call that faith blind. Until you consider all of Netflix’s new competitors: Amazon, Apple, and the newly-rescued-by-Dish Network, Blockbuster. Netflix certainly has a battle on its hands. (Qwikster? Probably not.)
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