DreamWorks Animation to Launch TV Channel in Asia

"All Hail King Julien"

The initiative marks the first time the company's content will be aggregated in one place

DreamWorks Animation will seemingly take a page from the Disney handbook and create a TV channel for its content, though only in 19 countries across Asia, at least initially.

The company said late Tuesday that when the channel launches next year it will have 2,000 hours of existing content as well as 1,200 half-hours of original animation currently in production, enough to boast more original content than any other children's channel in the region.

While DreamWorks Animation will handle programming and distribution, it also has partnered with HBO Asia for affiliate sales, marketing and technical services.

Dubbed the DreamWorks Channel, it will likely be ad-supported in some countries and commercial-free in others. The company has no plans to show its popular feature films on the channel, though it will promote upcoming theatrical releases as well as toys and other products based on its stable of characters, even where the channel does not carry commercials.

Websites and applications will be created to support the channel, and some affiliates can offer over-the-top services, though on a tethered, authenticated basis, said Eric Ellenbogen, co-head of DreamWorks International TV.

The channel marks the first time DreamWorks Animation will aggregate its content for viewing all in one place. Some of the shows include All Hail King Julien, The Adventures of Puss in Boots, VeggieTales in the House, DinoTrux and the How to Train Your Dragon TV series. The shows will be presented in local languages.

Some of the markets include Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Tahiti.

"We now have a critical mass of programming that allows for a channel 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Ellenbogen said. "Asia has a young population and it's a large geographical area with an emergent middle class."

If the initiative is successful, a DreamWorks Channel could roll out in other regions, said Ellenbogen, though it's unlikely it will be offered in the United States any time soon, given that it is a much more crowded market and a lot of the studio's content is already spoken for in the U.S. DreamWorks Animation, for example, last year struck a multiyear deal to supply original, first-run shows to Netflix. 

Email: Paul.Bond@THR.com

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