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Viacom Plans to Announce Another Online Content Deal, Possibly With Amazon

Madagascar
DreamWorks Animation

While not directly addressing his plans, CEO Philippe Dauman also signals little interest in renewing a theatrical distribution deal with DreamWorks Animation that is coming to an end.

NEW YORK - Viacom is looking to announce another online content deal next week, and analysts expect it will be with Amazon.com, which has been adding content to its streaming video offers.

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said Thursday on the company's quarterly earnings call that an online subscription VOD deal is being finalized and likely to be unveiled next week. He didn't provide further details. The entertainment company already has licensed some content to Netflix and Hulu/Hulu Plus.

Dauman on Thursday also once again signaled little interest in renewing a theatrical distribution deal that his company's Paramount Pictures has with DreamWorks Animation that is set to expire after the releases of Madagascar 3 and Rise of the Guardians this year. But he again didn't directly rule out a renewal address his plans.

"We are looking forward to the last two new movies," Dauman told analysts on the call. "We have valued very much the relationship thus far with DreamWorks Animation." In a nod to DWA CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, he also added that it is a "successful" and "well-led" company. But he then said that he "wishes them great success as they move forward.

Dauman also once again highlighted that Nickelodeon will continue to have a programming relationship with DWA and that the movies that Paramount distributed for DWA will stay in the fold for years to come.

Paramount last year launched its own animation operation in a sign that it was looking beyond the DWA relationship, without directly ruling out a renewal of the distribution partnership.

Katzenberg also said in the past that sticking with Paramount wasn't out of the question. But he has also been mulling potential alternatives, including forming a co-op to distribute third-party films in addition to DWA's animated fare.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai