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Netflix Breaks From Binge-Viewing Strategy With ‘Turbo Fast’ Series from DreamWorks Animation

First original series under pact with DWA to debut with five episodes on Christmas Eve

Netflix is deviating from the binge-viewing release pattern with DreamWorks Animation’s “Turbo Fast” original kids’ series, with the first five episodes of the show to premiere Christmas Eve in all the Internet streamer’s territories.

The first five episodes of the show about a team of racing snails will be available worldwide on Tuesday, Dec. 24, at 12:01 a.m. Pacific, with additional new episodes premiering throughout 2014. In all, Netflix has ordered 26 episodes of “Turbo Fast.”

That release sked runs counter to Netflix’s practice of releasing all episodes of a TV show at once. But Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos put a positive spin on it: “With new episodes on their way in the coming months, kids will have something to look forward to all year.”

The staggered release of “Turbo Fast” doesn’t necessarily represent a broad shift in strategy for Netflix. For example, it’s launching all eight episodes of Steven Van Zandt-starrer “Lilyhammer” season 2 on Dec. 13. In the case of “Turbo Fast,” DWA’s production schedules meant only five episodes would be available this month, according to Netflix.

“Production on animation is (on a) different timetable so we chose to make the episodes that are ready now, available for viewers as they were ready,” Netflix chief communications officer Jonathan Friedland said in an email. “Historically we have said that original series will be released in ways that best support the story — so if it suits the show, (it’s) always possible we could release in a different way.”

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In any case, it’s worth noting that Netflix changed its accounting method for spending on originals in the third quarter of 2013 to accelerate amortization of that content. With the change, Netflix will spend more up-front on originals given higher viewing in the initial months of release.

“Turbo Fast,” the first-ever Netflix original series for kids, is based on the DWA summer movie “Turbo,” which had a disappointing opening at the box office but has since grossed $280 million worldwide.

DreamWorks Animation and Netflix announced a pact this summer — Netflix’s biggest yet for original content — under which the studio is developing more than 300 hours of exclusive programming based on DWA characters.

The “Turbo Fast” series, which features a 2D design, follows the further adventures of the snail stunt-team with an ensemble cast. Reid Scott (“Veep”) lends his voice to the title character (voiced by Ryan Reynolds in the movie), and comedian Ken Jeong reprises his role from the film as manicurist-turned-home-shopping-icon Kim Ly.

“We’ve long said that Netflix is revolutionizing the television industry and now we are thrilled to officially be a part of it,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation. “They have been fantastic partners whose vision has given our characters an amazing platform to be enjoyed by families around the world.”

“Turbo Fast” was produced by DreamWorks Animation Television with production services provided by Titmouse, based on characters created by David Soren. The series was produced by Ben Kalina and Jennifer Ray and executive produced by Chris Prynoski.

Watch the trailer for “Turbo Fast”:

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