I’ve been arguing for a while now that the critical questions facing the traditional TV networks are not how much of their content ends up getting delivered over the top, or where viewers migrate, but where A-list talent ultimately sets up shop and where it attracts capital. Technology is certainly transforming TV but television is still a creative business. Viewers watch content, not technology or platforms; a channel is only as valuable as the content it carries.
Nowhere is that dynamic more evident than in a pair of recent moves by DreamWorks Animation, which is seeking to diversify its portfolio beyond the highly volatile movie business.
Last month DWA paid $33 million to acquire AwesomenessTV, not because the tweener-focused YouTube channel has good distribution on cable (it has none) but because its creating content that is finding an audience online. For now at least the deal means Awesomeness doesn’t need to look for a traditional TV distribution deal to finance high-quality content production.
Today, DreamWorks announced an exclusive deal with Netflix to create 300 hours of new, original programming for Netflix’s online platform based on DWA’s animated franchises such as Shrek and The Croods.
Once again, no need of a traditional network distribution deal to finance top-shelf content.