On the ropes as recently as a year ago, having then laid off 500 employees, Dreamworks has now expanded its multi-year exclusive distribution deal with Netflix. Things are looking up.
The deal, announced by the two companies on Tuesday, also covers streaming rights to DWA’s feature film library and extends rights for current original series available on Netflix worldwide. The arrangements extends the 2013 deal between Dreamworks and Netflix which, at the time, was Netflix’ biggest-ever deal for original first-run content.
Several new Dreamworks series will appear in 2016, but two major tentpoles are a reimagining of 1980s sci-fi cartoon Voltron and Trollhunters, a fantasy series from Oscar-nominated director Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth). These two shows will be developed and produced by DreamWorks Animation for Netflix, along with a number of others based on recent and upcoming DWA films and on other properties. This represents a strategic move for Dreamworks, bolstering the popularity of the films they’re already going to be working on, while getting paid to do it.
“DreamWorks Animation is synonymous with great storytelling that families around the world enjoy,” said Cindy Holland, Vice President of Original Series for Netflix in a statement. “It’s with great pleasure that we expand on an already successful relationship with DreamWorks Animation to bring more premium kids and family television to Netflix members globally.”
A Dreamworks Animation spokesman noted that the studio’s series production commitments now total more than 1600 episodes across linear and SVOD (“streaming video on demand”) platforms. That should be enough to keep Dreamworks afloat for a good long while.
The new deal also expands Netflix’s second-window rights worldwide outside China to DWA series such as The Adventures of Puss in Boots and Dragons: Race to the Edge.