Together with DreamWorks Animation, Netflix will launch an original cartoon series for children later this year, the online media company announced Tuesday.
Based on DreamWorks' upcoming movie "Turbo," about a snail with super speed powers, the Netflix series' first episode is expected to pick up where the film ends. Netflix will debut the show in December.
"Families love Netflix, so creating an original series for kids was a natural for us," Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer, said in a statement. "And we're doing it in a big way by adapting 'Turbo,' this year's DreamWorks Animation summer tentpole movie."
The effort is part of Netflix's campaign to widen its appeal to children. In 2011, it acquired the streaming rights to DreamWorks Animation’s movies and television specials. New films from Disney, Pixar, and Marvel will move from Starz to Netflix in late 2016, following a deal the streaming company made in December with the Walt Disney Company.
Netflix also hopes the cartoon show will help the company stay competitive against market rival Amazon Prime Instant Video, which has five children's shows in development, according to the New York Times
For DreamWorks, the venture is expected to help diversify the studio. It hopes to use television both as a way to grow and to avoid the sharp ups and downs of the movie business. The company’s shares rose 2.91 percent to $16.63 on Tuesday when the announcement of the partnership was made.
"Netflix boasts one of the largest and fastest-growing audiences in kids television," DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said in a statement. "They pioneered a new model for TV dramas with 'House of Cards,' and now together we're doing the same thing with kids' programming. DreamWorks is thrilled to be part of the television revolution."
But some media critics say Netflix is taking a risk by gambling on the fact that "Turbo" will do well at the box office when it hits theaters in July. DreamWorks' last film, "Rise of the Guardians," was a box-office disappointment.
"It’s still anyone's guess how audiences will respond," writes the Times' media blogger Brooks Barnes.
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