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Netflix Strengthens Hand in DreamWorks Partnership

Updated from 8:29 a.m. ET to reflect additional analyst comments and opening share prices.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) is teaming up with DreamWorks Animation (DWA - Get Report) to bring TV series and movies to the streaming video service, in a deal that strengthens the company's hand in winning original content and new subscribers.

DreamWorks Animation will create at least 300 hours of original Web-only movie and TV content, in a partnership that further underscores attempts by Netflix and its CEO Reed Hastings to take on the cable TV industry. Partnering with DreamWorks indicates Netflix will be taking a multi-faceted approach to its content library, as the company picks over Hollywood for the right formula to grow its subscriber base of nearly 30 million.

In the deal, Netflix will get exclusive rights to new shows from DreamWorks hit franchises such as Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda and exclusive rights to movie releases from the Jeffrey Katzenberg-run company such as The Croods and Turbo, the companies said in a joint press release. In February, Netflix and DreamWorks cut a deal to have animated episodes of Turbo F.A.S.T run exclusively on the streaming network.

"This is an unprecedented commitment to original content in the internet television space," said Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation CEO, in a statement.

Already, Netflix is turning to a burgeoning Hollywood power broker after signing a multi-year exclusive content agreement with Disney (DIS - Get Report) in December and embarking on a $100 million-plus commitment to create original shows such as House of Cards, Arrested Development and Hemlock Grove.

With DreamWorks Animation onboard, Netflix will significantly diversify the sources of its exclusive and original programming. Such partnerships also indicate the company may have an increasingly strong hand in negotiating content, after skipping out of a handful of non-exclusive relationships in recent years.

For instance, Netflix had a hole to fill in children's programming after it was unable to negotiate a renewal of its contract with Nickelodeon, a unit of cable TV giant Viacom (VIAB).

"The content is expected to begin airing in 2014, and should, in part, help to offset the gap in Netflix's children's content schedule created when it decided not to renew its agreement for certain content from Viacom's Nickelodeon Network earlier this year," Michael Pachter, a Wedbush Securities analyst, wrote in a note to clients. Pachter, however, continues to question whether Netflix can make money from its push for original content.

Viacom took its Nickelodeon business to Netflix's primary competitor Amazon (AMZN - Get Report).

"This deal represents a major expansion of what's already a phenomenal relationship, allowing us to bring beloved DreamWorks characters to the 40 countries where Netflix operates and setting the stage for us to innovate together as we expand into new markets," Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer, said in a statement.

Sarandos and Netflix have often faced scrutiny when opting not to renew content deals, only to impress with new relationships such as Disney and DreamWorks.

The first DreamWorks created movie will hit Netflix in 2014.
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