DreamWorks Animation Teams Up With Netflix For New Animated Series

The world of television animation is changing drastically, mainly by the fact that new animated shows won’t appear on TV. Netflix announced a deal yesterday with DreamWorks Animation in which they will fund an original animated series based on the upcoming feature Turbo. The show will be stream on-demand on Netflix.

The Netflix/DreamWorks deal doesn’t appear to be a one-off experiment The NY Times reports that Amazon’s competing Prime Instant Video is developing five children’s shows of its own.

DreamWorks head Jeffrey Katzenberg, whose company still produces TV shows like Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness and How to Train Your Dragon for traditional cable outlets, was careful to couch the announcement in a way that didn’t outright state the demise of TV. Katzenberg said that the deal is “part of the television revolution.”

But the Netflix/DreamWorks deal also represents a paradigm shift that upends the entire children’s television model. When Netflix debuted its live-action series House of Cards earlier this month, they offered the first season’s thirteen-episodes all at once. There is a chance that something similar will happen with the Turbo series.

A good analysis of what Netflix is doing can be found in this New Yorker piece, “Why Netflix’s The House of Cards Could Signal The Decline of Cable Television.

And more about the new Turbo series from the official release:

LOS ANGELES — Netflix and DreamWorks Animation will create the first ever Netflix Original Series for kids. Based on the highly-anticipated DreamWorks Animation movie Turbo, premiering in theaters this summer, the Netflix series Turbo: F.A.S.T. (Fast Action Stunt Team) debuts exclusively this December in the United States and across the globe in the 40 countries where Netflix offers its service.

“Families love Netflix, so creating an original series for kids was a natural for us. And we’re doing it in a big way by adapting Turbo, this year’s DreamWorks Animation summer tentpole movie,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix. “DreamWorks Animation has a long track record of creating incredibly successful characters and stories that delight people of all ages. We’re thrilled to add Turbo the series as well as all new DreamWorks Animation films, starting with their 2013 slate, to Netflix.”

“Netflix boasts one of the largest and fastest-growing audiences in kids television. They pioneered a new model for TV dramas with House of Cards, and now together, we’re doing the same thing with kids’ programming,” said DreamWorks Animation’s Chief Executive Officer, Jeffrey Katzenberg. “DreamWorks is thrilled to be part of the television revolution.”

Turbo’s pursuit of racing greatness continues in Turbo: F.A.S.T.: an episodic animated television series that picks up where the feature film leaves off. It showcases the world-traveling exploits of our snail hero and his tricked-out racing crew as they master outrageous new stunts and challenge any villain unlucky enough to cross their path.

In addition to the original TV series Turbo: F.A.S.T., new DreamWorks Animation feature titles will be made available for Netflix members in the U.S. to watch beginning with the studio’s 2013 film line-up


  • M.R. Horhager

    Excited for new possibilities/ avenues of to tell animated stories. My only hope is that we can get a few independent shows/ films on Netflix before it’s saturated and dominated by all the BIG studios.

  • CG_Animator

    I read that the fourth season of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT is going to be a Netflix exclusive. I think this is the beginning of the end of cable TV. And good riddance, honestly… why pay extra for cable when you can stream it on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu Plus for $8 a month?

    • AmidAmidi

      Personally, I’ve never paid for cable/sattelite in my life, but I happily subscribe to both Netflix and Hulu Plus. Empowering the viewer to choose how and when they watch content has tremendous appeal. On-demand online video like YouTube and DVR was the one-two knockout punch that ultimately killed TV.

      • CG_Animator

        Exactly. I don’t have cable either. Too many annoying commercials. It’s not worth it. Almost everything I want to watch is now available now instantly on Nextflix, Amazon, and Hulu Plus and I can watch it any any time I want.

        That’s the other bad thing about traditional TV… the schedule. If I want to watch something that comes on at 5pm I have to plan my day around it so I can catch it. Unless I pay more per month for a DVR or go old school and video record it which is annoying. And you still have to fast forward through ads.

        Usually I can just catch the show the day after on the TV channel’s website or Hulu anyway. There’s no reason to go through the trouble.

    • Max W

      As more and more TV shows got his route, you can be your booty that Netflix won’t stay at $8/month…

      • Jimbo2K7

        You’ve got that right. They tried the rate increase before, but this time they will throw out all this additional justification, and it will be hard to argue!

      • http://twitter.com/ChriSobieniak Chris Sobieniak

        This is why I gave up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/justin.delbert.1 Justin Delbert

    What channel is this going to end up on? I know Dreamworks is developing a TV channel

  • http://twitter.com/robertkohr Robert Kohr

    I have started watching House of Cards and I have to say all hail our new non-cable overlords! Its actually pretty good, its also nice to watch something that didn’t cause premium cable price thats not heavily censored by the FCC. Animation on Netflix should be interesting given that they may not have to follow Kid-Vid laws.

    • http://twitter.com/SarahJesness SarahJesness

      That’s a good point, actually. More freedom for the industry is pretty good, especially since some of the restrictions placed on kid shows can get kind of… weird.

      And while we’re on the subject, maybe this could impact animation as a whole, not just stuff for kids. With TV, animation is still kind of stuck in the Animation Age Ghetto. If something isn’t being made for kids, it’s being made for immature 18-34 year old bro-dudes. Good luck getting networks to pick up anything else. But if studios can get different animated shows on Netflix, that would be swell.

      • http://twitter.com/robertkohr Robert Kohr

        Additionally it opens the door for more niche stuff. Networks are really beholden to demographics where as I feel with the internet it could be different. What WOULD truly make all this amazing is if a site like Netflix had a larger international reach.

  • jmahon

    this is the PERFECT opportunity for creators to finally, after all this time and all this complaining and all this begging and discussion, go after animation as something more than just colourful entertainment for children, and a medium for stories beyond that. As much as I love these movies, and as much as I agree that a good animated movie is for everyone, you all know what I’m saying.

    • Mac

      You could always, always phone call a distributor if you made a masterpiece in your garage. Netflix makes neither production or monetization easier for anyone. I’m sure I could call a distributor who has a tech companies secret phone number.

  • SMP Belltown

    My biggest concern with deals like this is that stats for budget and viewership often seem to be vague or downright unavailable. It sometimes seems like very few people will know whether the project is a financial success (reflecting a robust audience), or was intended all along to be more of a status/promotional thing for the website/streamer.

  • Polecat

    I think Dreamworks is getting ahead of itself. Turbo hasn’t even arrived in theaters yet. Who knows whether anybody will actually like it enough to watch the series?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Sullivan/100001833542564 Matt Sullivan

    Someday internet/Hulu/Netflix will be just as expensive and corrupt as cable/cable companies. I don’t know why anyone is excited about this. Same shit, different carrier.

    • Harry P (not, not that one)

      Not at all. The problem with cable is – no local competition. You can’t choose between cable providers, becuase only one has cabled your area. Satellite providers are more competitive, but depend on a hugely expensive hardware infrasystem, so the barriers to entry are immense. Internet access to content providers opens that up. Imagine getting the kind of content you get now from Vimeo on your cable provider. There are three big players now, but there is no natural monopoly.

      • Polecat

        In New York, you can choose between Fios and Time Warner. The trouble is that there is no real difference in terms of rate hikes, price gouging, and consumer fraud.

    • Polecat

      Well, after all, most cable companies ARE internet providers now. Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon Fios.

  • http://twitter.com/SarahJesness SarahJesness

    I’m not against DreamWorks doing animated series. I mean, up until I saw the Dragons series I strongly disliked CGI in television shows because CGI often looks terrible if you can’t go all the way. But the Dragons series, while not on the same quality level as the films, looks GREAT.

    With that said… I think they’re kind of jumping ahead here. Turbo hasn’t been released in theaters yet. Shoot, it hasn’t even been advertised much and the average person doesn’t know about it. There’s no way to tell if it will be popular enough to justify a series.

  • CJ

    Rather have a second season of Tron: Uprising

    • Dan Wilson

      Agreed

  • Boycott

    Personally, I won’t be watching Turbo on Netflix because Dreamworks OUTSOURCED the making of the TV show to their off shore studio. They do this while they lay off 500 US workers. I’d recommend Boycotting any product they make overseas.

  • Fooey

    “Being Done in LA”… by that I’m guessing you mean, “Being done at Nickolodeon or Wildbrain”

  • Bob

    even though i think Turbo looks terrible… i’m really glad to have dreamworks backing something like this.