DreamWorks Animation reinventing itself with TV deals, CEO says

With the freshly-announced deals to produce animated television shows for Netflix and Germany's leading children's TV channel, DreamWorks Animation is well on the way to reinventing itself as a multifaceted media company.

That's the message Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg is imparting to Wall Street in the wake of the company's television deals with Netflix and Super RTL.

"We're now on a path to becoming the biggest producer and distributor of high quality TV programming on a global basis," Katzenberg said in a conference call with analysts Tuesday.  "DreamWorks is increasingly shifting from an animated film company into a multifaceted entertainment company."

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Since its launch as a public company in 2004, DreamWorks Animation has focused primarily on making animated movies such as the "Shrek," "Kung Fu Panda" and "Madagascar" franchises.  Despite the success of most of its movies, the studio has been trying to lessen its dependence on box-office revenues, at a time when DVD sales have been declining, by focusing more attention on the television business.

DreamWorks already produces several animated TV shows based on its characters, including a successful series on Cartoon Network based on "How to Train Your Dragon," and now will rapidly expand its output.

The Glendale company will produce 1,200 episodes of animated TV shows for Netflix, RTL and other outlets over the next five years. Revenues from television will exceed $200 million by 2015, up from $100 million in 2013, Katzenberg said.

Katzenberg said DreamWorks aims to secure deals with other television networks around the world, including in China.

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The company has agreed to create more than 300 hours of programming for Netflix, the world's largest streaming service, which first partnered with DreamWorks Animation in September 2011, replacing a previous pact with HBO.

"They are a very different platform, they engage their customers in very different ways,'' Katzenberg said in an interview. "The ability to offer, in particular for families, what right now seems to be the most popular viewing experience, makes it a great home for us."


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