7:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Nickelodeon, Netflix Team for Original Animated Features, TV Series
Viacom's Nickelodeon has come full circle with Netflix.
Years ago, the kids-focused cable network pulled its licensing deals from the streaming giant as the linear network's ratings tumbled. Now, Nickelodeon and Netflix have entered a multiple-year output deal that will see the Viacom-owned cable network create and produce original animated feature films and TV series based on both new and existing IP.
The deal announced Wednesday expands Nickelodeon's relationship with Netflix, which was revived a few years ago with deals for a live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series and deals for Rocko's Modern Life, Invader Zim, The Loud House and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, among others.
"Nickelodeon has generated scores of characters that kids love, and we look forward to telling wholly original stories that re-imagine and expand on the worlds they inhabit,” said Netflix vp original animation Melissa Cobb. “We’re thrilled to continue collaborating with Brian Robbins, Ramsey Naito, and the creative team at Nickelodeon in new ways as we look to find fresh voices and bring bold stories to our global audience on Netflix.”
The deal strengthens Netflix's kids programming brand at a time when other streamers — Disney+, Apple TV+ and soon HBO Max — are all focused on courting the younger demo and families to their subscription services. The agreement, financial terms of which were not immediately available, should be seen as a win for Viacom. The media behemoth, which is in the process of closing a deal to remerge with CBS, does not have a subscription streaming service of its own. That would have been a natural home for offshoots of its well-known TV franchises.
"Nickelodeon’s next step forward is to keep expanding beyond linear platforms, and our broader content partnership with Netflix is a key path toward that goal,” Nickelodeon president Robbins said. “The Nickelodeon Animation Studio is home to the world-class artists and storytellers behind some of the most iconic characters and shows ever made, and our head of animation, Ramsey Naito, has been building on that legacy over the past year by ramping up development and production exponentially. The ideas and work at our studio are flowing, and we can’t wait to work with Melissa and the Netflix team on a premium slate of original animated content for kids and families around the world.”
Netflix launched its own in-house animation studio last year as the appetite for both adult animation and kids-focused content continues to rise amid the streaming revolution. Animated shows are cheaper to produce and often wind up seeing secondary revenue streams from merchandising sales.
The Nickelodeon-produced films and TV series join a Netflix animated slate that includes feature Klaus (due Nov. 15), kids animated series Dino Girl Gauko (Nov. 22), adult animated film I Lost My Body (Nov. 29) and DreamWorks' Fast & Furious Spy Racers (Dec. 26), among others.