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February 12, 2013

Netflix and Dreamworks to Team Up for 'Turbo: F.A.S.T.'

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

Netflix's woes in terms of getting--and keeping--content on their streaming network aren't looking to abate any time soon. The company's success, however, has given it quite a bit of leeway with some providers, and has even allowed them to branch out into getting their own original series. Now, reports have emerged that Netflix will be collaborating directly with Dreamworks to bring out a new original series based on an upcoming Dreamworks release that will follow the theatrical release.

The series, "Turbo F.A.S.T." (Fast Action Stunt Team) is based on Dreamworks' upcoming release "Turbo," an animated film about a snail who gains super-speed powers following a freak accident and thus enters a race to show them off. "Turbo" will feature the voices of Paul Giamatti and Ryan Reynolds, and "Turbo F.A.S.T." is set to show the continuing adventures of the surprisingly fast snail, and will likely launch not too long after the movie leaves theaters from its release data of July 19.

This is actually a pretty significant departure for both companies. While it's not out of line to see Dreamworks content on Netflix--there's quite a bit of it there already, especially from the "Shrek" and "Kung Fu Panda" line--normally there's something of a pecking order. The content goes direct to video, likely makes an appearance on kid-themed cable channel Nickelodeon, and then goes to Netflix. This time, meanwhile, appears somewhat different, as it looks like Netflix will be landing the content first.

Netflix has already been spotted making overtures in the direction of original content, with the recent release of Kevin Spacey-led series "House of Cards" and the long-awaited revival of the "Arrested Development" series. This one, however, may well be the biggest as it represents a major move from a major kids' studio. This move also proves to cement Netflix's standing as a provider in the industry, as they will now be getting content not only from Dreamworks, but also from Disney (News - Alert). This may well be part of what Netflix meant recently by "strategic transactions" when it announced a debt restructuring.

Netflix has had a tough time in the past getting and keeping content. Studios are leery of handing over product to an all-you-can-watch buffet like Netflix's as studios reportedly believe it has a way of making the content less valuable. But Netflix's massive user base, and massive chunk of the total online traffic picture, means that it's getting harder and harder to not go with Netflix as at least one part of the content delivery picture. While there are still plenty of competitors out there for Netflix to face down--Hulu (News - Alert) Plus, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes and the like--Netflix is clearly gaining ground and reputation.

The next few years are likely to be major ones indeed for the streaming video market. While the exact layout of the future remains to be seen, it's clear that Netflix is going to be a top competitor in the field for some time to come. We may be seeing a lot more Netflix premieres before too much longer has passed, and that may not be so bad.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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