UPDATE 4-Netflix boosts original programming with DreamWorks deal

Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:53pm EDT

* Deal will bring 300 hours of new programming to Netflix

* Pact is Netflix's largest for original programming

* Netflix shares rise 7 pct, DreamWorks rises 4 pct

By Sayantani Ghosh and Lisa Richwine

June 17 (Reuters) - Video streaming service Netflix Inc signed an exclusive multiyear deal for a slate of new TV series from "Shrek" creator DreamWorks Animation, deepening its push into original programming to stand apart from Internet competitors.

Netflix shares rose 7 percent and DreamWorks Animation shares jumped 4 percent after the deal was announced on Monday.

The companies said the pact was Netflix's biggest deal for original first-run content and includes more than 300 hours of new programming. They did not disclose financial terms or the length of the contract.

For DreamWorks, the deal is part of an effort to expand beyond films into TV production and distribution. The company is the studio behind hit movies, including "Shrek," "Madagascar," "Kung Fu Panda" and "The Croods." It also owns characters such as Casper the Friendly Ghost and Lassie through its acquisition of Classic Media last year.

The new programming for Netflix will feature some of those characters, though the companies did not say which ones.

Online streaming competitors such as Amazon.com Inc and Hulu are spending heavily on content as they fight for a piece of the fast-growing market for movies and TV shows delivered over the Internet.

The DreamWorks content "should in part help to offset the gap in Netflix's children's content schedule created when it decided not to renew its agreement for certain content from Viacom's Nickelodeon network," Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said.

Netflix will premiere the new DreamWorks shows in all territories where it operates. The company has 29.2 million streaming customers in the United States and 7.1 million in Canada and parts of Europe and Latin America.

The first of the new series announced on Monday is expected to be available in 2014.

In December, Netflix will debut a DreamWorks series called "Turbo: F.A.S.T," based on the upcoming DreamWorks film "Turbo" about a fast-moving snail.

Starting in 2016, Netflix will have the exclusive first-run rights to Walt Disney Co movies after they leave theaters.

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