June 17 - Netflix inks a multi-year deal for original programming with DreamWorks Animation, the maker of movies such as Shrek and Kung Fu Panda. Fred Katayama reports.
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**No archive or wireless use, no resale** Shrek and his buddies are coming to Netflix. The video streaming service is beefing up its children's programming with its largest deal ever for original content: a multi-year contract with DreamWorks Animation. Netflix will get more than 300 hours or new programs inspired by DreamWorks' franchises like "The Croods" and "Kung Fu Panda" as well as its Classic Media library, which includes "Casper the Friendly Ghost" and "Mr. Magoo". And it will stream them in the 40 countries where it operates. For Netflix, the move fills a void in children's programming after its deal with Viacom's Nickelodeon ended this year. And it diversifies its business further into TV programming away from its traditional focus on movies. For Dreamworks, it marks one of the biggest moves by Hollywood to bypass cable and take its content to the Internet. And it's the first time Dreamworks' stable of characters will be shown as a branded collection of shows on television DreamWorks chief executive Jeffrey Katzenberg said, "This is an unprecedented commitment to original content in the internet television space. Netflix is a visionary company that continues to redefine the way audiences watch television." Netflix's stock, which had lost three-quarters of its value after it botched pricing and rebranding moves two years ago, has bounced back strongly this year, But it's still one-third below its all-time peak. In the hotly contested arena of video streaming, Netflix has been deftly playing its cards. The 100 million dollars it invested in Kevin Spacey's series, "House of Cards," has vaulted its subscriber total past HBO to more than 29 million.