German Kids Channel Super RTL, Dreamworks Animation Sign Output Deal
COLOGNE, Germany – Super RTL, Europe's number one children's channel, has signed a multi-year output deal with DreamWorks Animation that will see DreamWorks supply the Cologne-based network with around 1,200 hours of programming through 2020.
The deal, which DreamWorks Animation head Jeffrey Katzenberg and Super RTL boss Claude Schmit closed during the L.A. Screenings, will go some way toward filling the hole in the German network's schedule when its current programming deal with Disney expires at the end of this year.
The DreamWorks deal includes programming from DWA's $155 million purchase of Classic Media last year, which gave Katzenberg the rights to hundreds of hours of classic kids TV, including titles such as Lassie, The Lone Ranger and George of the Jungle. DreamWorks is also revving up its in-house television operations with small screen spin-offs of its hit animated feature films. These include a 20-episode animated series based on How to Train Your Dragon and a show based on the upcoming Ryan Reynolds-voiced feature Turbo, which will see DreamWorks partner with Netflix. Turbo the film bows July 19. The series, Turbo: F.A.S.T., is set for Netflix release in December. DreamWorks expects to produce at least five long-running animation series next year, all of which will have their German debuts on Super RTL.
DreamWorks programming will provide around 10 percent of Super RTL's future daytime programming, or about a third of the 30 percent currently supplied by Walt Disney.
Disney is Super RTL's number one supplier as well as being a 50 percent shareholder in the German channel (Bertelsmann-owned RTL Television holds the remaining 50 percent). But Disney has announced plans to launch a free-TV version of its Disney Channel in Germany next year, a channel that would be in direct competition with Super RTL. The new Disney Channel Germany will be run by Lars Wagner, who currently heads up Disney's German pay-TV operations. It is planned as a 24-hour family entertainment network largely stocked with series and films from Disney's massive program library.
Although Disney hasn't yet said what it plans to do with its Super RTL stake, it is widely expected to exit the channel.
In addition to the DreamWorks deal, Super RTL plans to increase in-house production and further boost acquisitions of third-party product to fill the gap left by Disney.