Will Kids Watch 300 Hours of DreamWorks Programming on Netflix? (NFLX, DWA)
DreamWorks is expected to use its existing franchises -- which includes Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon, The Croods and Kung Fu Panda -- to develop a number of shows to fulfill the new content agreement.
Long-term, DreamWorks could provide more than 600 episodes of various 30-minute programs (300 hours x 60 minutes = 18,000 minutes / 30-minute episodes = 600 episodes) to Netflix.
While many primetime sitcoms and dramas have 21 to 24 episodes per season, the average Netflix series takes after HBO by providing 10 to 15 episodes per season. At that rate, DreamWorks will have to develop 20 different series -- each with at least two 15-episode seasons (15 episodes x 2 seasons = 30 episodes x 20 series = 600 episodes).
That's a lot of shows -- but it is exactly the kind of content Netflix has been looking to secure, particularly after losing Nickelodeon. But is it what Netflix viewers really want?
The assumption is that if DreamWorks brings quality content to Netflix, kids will follow. That theory will be tested when Turbo F.A.S.T (a new, Netflix-exclusive series that was announced before the new DreamWorks deal) debuts in December. The success of Turbo F.A.S.T is largely based on the success of its movie predecessor, Turbo, which arrives this summer. If the film is popular with kids or adults, the series should do fairly well -- provided that the film's qualities are not lost in the small-screen translation. If the film flops, however, the series may not have any hope of finding an audience, even if it is vastly superior to the film.
This is one of many challenges that DreamWorks will face as it attempts to build hit shows exclusively for streaming video.
While DreamWorks is currently focused on bringing animated series to Netflix, the company has not said if it will utilize the talent of AwesomenessTV, the online video startup DreamWorks acquired in May.
AwesomenessTV is considered to be a high-quality, YouTube-based version of Nickelodeon, which provided some of Netflix's most popular shows until its parent company, Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA), pulled the plug. If DreamWorks can bring that level of content to Netflix, it may do more than fill the void that Nickelodeon left behind -- it might spawn a new leader in the teen and tween TV market.
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.