Netflix is betting big on a world’s worth of children’s IP

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Netflix is ​​putting its money on Roald Dahlo

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The reigning king of streaming announced one of its biggest IP acquisitions ever this week with the purchase of the rights to a catalog of Roald Dahl’s work. Following regulatory approval, the deal will give Netflix access to a universe of cute kids’ stories for me and position the company to better compete with kid-friendly competitors like Disney Plus.


The acquisition of a trove of intellectual property is as follows: past partnership A tie-up between Netflix and the Roald Dahl Story Company was announced in 2018 to adapt some of the late author’s iconic titles. With access to the full library of Dahl stories – including children’s classics such as . Are included Charlie and the Chocolate Factoryhandjob James and the Giant Peachhandjob bfg, And matildaNetflix, among others – has the opportunity to make a whole world out of the catalogue, boosting its original draw and keeping kids and parents hooked to its service.

The deal is arguably one of the most significant acquisitions Netflix has made in its programming in recent memory, and it explains the importance of children’s content to the service’s continued growth. The company announced a major deal with Nickelodeon for original animated films and series in 2019, a year after the original Dahl partnership was announced, and it recently ordered three seasons NS cocomelan spinoff, after bringing the YouTube-hit kids series to its service last year.

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Netflix has also indicated Willoughbys, a 2020 animated comedy service that reached nearly 38 million homes in its first four weeks, “an example of the level of animated feature film we are building to increase our offering to children and families.” With Dahl’s library, Netflix may be making its biggest bet yet in pursuing that goal. (Netflix did not specify how much it paid for the catalogue.)

Netflix is ​​competing in a space that is getting more crowded by the day. Its clear primary competitor for children’s streaming, Disney Plus, passed the 100 million subscription mark by the first quarter of 2021. Meanwhile, HBO Max (which has the DC catalog among other properties) and Apple TV Plus (which has Peanut And Sesame Street-adjacent properties) has also focused its attention on children’s programming. That means nothing to say about series and movies for kids available as free-to-stream titles on other services.

in one Announcement Regarding this week’s acquisition, Netflix said that its current partnership with the Dahl organization “opened our eyes to a more ambitious venture — in animated and live-action films and TV, publishing, games, immersive experiences, live theater.” Creating a unique universe, consumer products and more.”

“More” in Netflix’s statement certainly speaks to the company’s indication that it’s interested in continuing to build out franchises and fan communities, most recently with its bigger bets on gaming. Unlike other streamers, who have focused primarily on acquiring legacy studios for mountains of money as a means to swoop in on valuable IP, Netflix has been far more conservative about its investments – it underscores That’s how valuable Netflix Dahl IP is.

“The industry has consolidated materially over the years” […] And we do not believe that this consolidation has affected our growth much, if at all, the company wrote in a letter to shareholders a few months ago in July. We also don’t see the property as ‘essential’ and we haven’t found anything to compel it enough to take any massive action.”

There’s no doubt that Netflix just cut a huge check for Dahl’s books, with Netflix being able to expand even further beyond children’s stories if re-imagined for older audiences. But even if Netflix does sidestep the studio bidding wars, it proves it’s willing to pay well when the opportunity — in this case, the world’s price for children’s stories — is right.

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