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Netflix Invests in Animation as Audience, Revenue Generator

Fern Siegel

Netflix is jazzed on animation. It got two Oscar nominations for best animated feature — “Klaus” and “I Lost My Body” — and “Klaus” was seen in 30 million homes during its first month, per the streamer.

In a recent earnings call, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos discussed the important of animation to the streamer, CNBC reported.

One upcoming show, “The Willoughbys,” is expected in the second quarter, while “Over the Moon” debuts in the fourth. Sarandos described them as “big scale feature films that would be competitive with anything you’d see at the box office.”

The increased focus on animation comes as Disney+ takes off. But Netflix isn’t new to the genre; it’s had a deal with DreamWorks Animation for seven years. The alliance made Netflix home to “Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia,” “Dragons: Race to the Edge” and “Dinotrux.”

CNBC notes Netflix signed a new deal with existing partner Nickelodeon late last year to produce original animated feature films and television series, based on the network’s characters. Worth noting, however, ViacomCBS, which owns Nickelodeon, is also working on a streaming service.

One way to stay competitive in an area long dominated by Disney is to find a niche. In 2014, Netflix began investing in original anime content, which boasts global appeal, especially in Asia. Plus, Netflix recently signed a deal with Studio Ghibli, the Japanese equivalent of Disney, as a maker of animated feature films.

Netflix has acquired the next animated feature in the Pokémon franchise. It’s releasing “Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back — Evolution” on February 27.

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