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Summary:

Netflix doesn’t do ads on its video service — but a recently-added featurette about the new Mr. Peabody & Sherman movie sure feels a lot like promotion.

Mr Peabody Sherman

“Daddy, why don’t you believe me?”

My 6 year-old daughter was getting increasingly upset, and trying to explain Netflix’s business model didn’t seem to do any good. The whole ordeal had started when she told me that she had seen an ad for the new DreamWorks movie Mr. Peabody and Sherman on Netflix. To which my obvious response as a media writer was: “Sweetie, there are no ads on Netflix.”

Well, guess what? My daughter was right; sort of. Netflix recently added a video titled DreamWorks Presents: Mr. Peabody and Sherman, A Journey WABAC to its catalog, which basically is a 22 minute-long promotional video for the studio’s new animated movie that opened in theaters this week.

The featurette tells us about the origins of the movie as part of the Rocky and Bullwinkle in the 1960s, its influence on movies like Back to the Future and of course a whole lot about the movie itself. There are appearances of the movie’s director Rob Minkoff, key voice actors including Modern Family’s Ty Burrell and Stephen Colbert, and even DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg himself. And yes, you get to see a whole lot of clips of the movie.

Ty Burrett, recording the voice of Mr. Peabody.

Ty Burrett, recording the voice of Mr. Peabody.

Now, officially, this isn’t an ad. Netflix executives have said time and again that they won’t do ads, and I’ve been told by a Netflix spokesperson that it’s just one of many titles the company was able to license as part of its DreamWorks content deal. But it sure does feel like advertising, and actually works, as it gets you more curious about the actual movie. As such, it could show another way for Hollywood to make use of Netflix to promote its fares.

But more importantly, I guess I owe my daughter an apology. Maybe I should go watch a movie with her?

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  1. you better!

  2. Actually, I was thrilled to find the Netflix feature before going to the theater. Learning about the cartoon that inspired the film as well as getting a glimpse into the creative and technical workings behind such an animated feature was enjoyable and informative. I wouldn’t mind seeing more such features on Netflix.

  3. i have to agree with the Anna…its a wonderful idea. Just as long as it doesn’t get cheapened down the line and turn into actual advertising space….like just trailers; but to make an actual thought provoked 22 minute intro to a movie, especially one that needs it, is superb…. bravo Netflix..Bravo….jk, but its a good idea

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