Netflix Goes After DreamWorks Animation

Mari Silbey —  July 25, 2011 — 12 Comments

Bloomberg reported late last night that Netflix is in talks with DreamWorks Animation to get exclusive streaming rights to its content starting in 2013. This is a big deal, and it follows a strategy we’ve seen Netflix pursue for many months now. Rather than be a cable TV substitute, Netflix is looking to make select deals for premium content – first-run and original programming – while filling in its library with back-catalog selections. At the the $7.99 price point, that makes for a pretty compelling offering, and Netflix can hook different consumers with different bait. The potential DreamWorks deal, for example, could be catnip for parents of young children.

By being selective with its licensing decisions, Netflix can (hopefully) keep prices reasonable. And with more content in the works, maybe the company can even woo Dave back. ;)

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12 responses to Netflix Goes After DreamWorks Animation

  1. “By being selective with its licensing decisions, Netflix can (hopefully) keep prices reasonable.”

    I would assume the DreamWorks deal is for the StarzPlay low-res PQ, as that seems likely to make the most sense for both DreamWorks and Netflix, but we shall wait and see.

  2. I already resubscribed (streaming only) to cover the Roku 2. And maybe catch the last season of Mad Men if the pq is decent. We’ll see how long it lasts. ;)

  3. “And maybe catch the last season of Mad Men if the pq is decent.”

    Watch all four seasons, if you haven’t already seen one through three. It’s high quality teevee, very close to being up to HBO standards.

    I’m very curious what they’ll do with PQ on Mad Men. With the Showtime series, they bought the rights for “good enough” PQ.

    But Mad Men still selling at $30 a season in HD at Amazon, so beats me what the PQ will be on Netflix.

    (If I hadn’t already seen all four seasons, and Mad Men was available in HD, that’d make a couple of months of Netflix streaming a bargain for that show alone…)

  4. Via the Peter Kafka post, HBO let DreamWorks sell streaming rights out from under them despite having an exclusive deal that would’ve let them keep those rights for several years longer.

    So if my guess of how the biz works is correct, Netflix sells the SD titles via streaming, HBO gets to keep the HD titles delivered via multicast, and HBO saves some money on the overall rights package it pays to DreamWorks.

    Which would all fit in well with my theory that HBO has no plans to bring HBO Go to the lean-back anytime soon, since if they did, they’d likely be more interested in keeping streaming rights to stuff.

  5. Chucky- nice analysis, except Netflix is apparently going after exclusive rights, which would cut HBO out entirely. No SD or HD. Don’t know why HBO is letting DW go.

  6. “except Netflix is apparently going after exclusive rights, which would cut HBO out entirely. No SD or HD.”

    I’m relying on the Peter Kafka post to be an accurate summary, and not digging down into primary sources, but according to Rupert’s man, this is all concerning “a streaming rights deal”.

    So my conclusion was that HBO’s would retain multicasting rights while giving up streaming rights, but I could easily be wrong.

  7. I wouldn’t count HD out yet… Amazon has already proven you wrong (at least a percentage of the time). Then again, the Starz deal may have proven that is all they really need. Hm. FYI we’ve seen 3.5 seasons of Mad Men, we peter out in real time as we have short attention spans. Catching up after the fact works better for us for shows that rely on sequence.

  8. So is the industry moving back to a world where in order to have access to a wide variety of premium content we’ll need to subscribe to several different services, only this time using a variety of delivery methods (cable, streaming, satellite, etc)?

  9. “Catching up after the fact works better for us for shows that rely on sequence.”

    No doubt. We haven’t watched Game of Thrones yet so I could get the full season locally cached via TiVo before starting.

    That’s what I do for most of HBO’s series these days. They’re designed to be best enjoyed in a continuous gulp.

    (It’s easy to gulp down an entire season of Mad Men in less than a week. The Amazon VOD seasons are less than 10 hours of runtime, and if that becomes your sole viewing for the week…)

    Ever since the monoculture of The Sopranos gave way, I’ve been more than willing to give up the water-cooler talk value of watching immediately in order to get the superior viewing immersion of the Big Gulp.

  10. “I wouldn’t count HD out yet… Amazon has already proven you wrong (at least a percentage of the time).”

    FWIW, I’m not counting out HD on Mad Men yet. Netflix has acquired HD rights for most of the teevee series they’ve streamed. I’m just saying it would be a tremendous value for consumers at Netflix’ monthly fee level. It would be a prize.

    “Then again, the Starz deal may have proven that is all they really need. Hm.”

    That’s what I was thinking regarding the DreamWorks deal. I think you are correct when you note that it could be “catnip for parents of young children”, and Starz PQ is probably all they need to accomplish that.

  11. Re. catnip, I second that. Personally when Amazon Instant Streaming picked up all those seasons of Sesame Street in HD recently that’s when I picked up a Roku…

  12. I see this complaint about netflix streaming pq over and over again. If you have a PS3 or good AVR that upsclales to 1080p then the netflix SD content looks very good. At least equal, if not better than DVD quality. I guess a lot of people don’t have decent hardware or an adequate broadband connection to get the highest quality streams.

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