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DreamWorks Animation Characters Will Inspire Netflix TV Shows

Multiyear deal with DWA is Netflix’s largest for original, first-run content

Netflix will become the exclusive home for 300-plus hours of new programming from DreamWorks Animation, under multiyear pact that represents Netflix’s largest ever for first-run content.

Terms of the pact were not disclosed. The deal also will be the first time DreamWorks Animation’s characters will be introduced in a collection of branded TV shows.

DWA did not indicate which characters will be featured in the skeins. Its box-office franchises include “Shrek,” “Madagascar,” “Kung Fu Panda” and “How to Train Your Dragon.” “We’re not yet going into detail on which shows will be produced,” a DreamWorks Animation rep said.

For DWA, the deal is a major component of its strategy to expand television production and distribution worldwide.  The new shows will be “inspired by” characters from DreamWorks Animation’s franchises and upcoming feature films. In addition, DWA expects to produce shows based on properties the Classic Media library — including “Archie,” “Fat Albert,” “Rocky and Bullwinkle,” “Felix the Cat,” “Lassie” and “The Lone Ranger” — which DreamWorks Animation acquired in 2012.

“This is an unprecedented commitment to original content in the Internet television space,” DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said in a statement. “Netflix is a visionary company that continues to redefine the way audiences watch television and it is a thrill to add to their growing momentum.”

The first DWA series are expected to begin airing in 2014. Netflix will make them available in the 40 territories in which it operates. The shows will be exclusive to Netflix’s service for the duration of the DWA pact.

For Netflix, kids’ programming is an important category. Viacom recently inked a multiyear distribution pact with Amazon.com for several Nick properties, shortly after the media conglom’s pact with Netflix expired.

In February, DreamWorks announced its first Netflix original series for kids based on “Turbo,” film about a speedy snail premiering on July 17. The “Turbo F.A.S.T” episodic animated series, which picks up where the pic left off, will be available in all Netflix territories beginning in December.

Also coming exclusively to Netflix in the U.S. and Latin America next year will be new DreamWorks Animation feature films, beginning with the “The Croods,” which grossed more than $575 million at the worldwide box office , followed by “Turbo” and the adaption of “Mr. Peabody and Sherman,” which opens in theaters in March 2014.

Netflix had about 36.3 million members worldwide at the end of March. Its 29.17 million U.S. subs at the close of the first quarter pushed it ahead of HBO for the first time.

“DreamWorks Animation is a valued partner in our global efforts to provide families the most engaging stories delivered however, whenever and wherever they want,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a prepared statement. “This deal represents a major expansion of what’s already a phenomenal relationship, allowing us to bring beloved DreamWorks characters to the 40 countries where Netflix operates and setting the stage for us to innovate together as we expand into new markets.”

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