TV

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

DreamWorks Animation mixing fan favourites like 'Shrek' with newbies in YouTube channel launch

  • Print

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - When AwesomenessTV launched as a YouTube channel two years ago, it was a bet by veteran TV and movie producer Brian Robbins on the ability of teen and tween audiences to find videos they love to watch online.

On Monday, Robbins kicks off DreamWorks TV, another YouTube channel that represents one of the first attempts by Hollywood to mesh the polished look of movies with the chaos of content on the Internet.

The channel is aimed at 6 to 11 year olds and will have a mix of videos featuring characters familiar to DreamWorks Animation audiences — like "Shrek" and Po from "Kung Fu Panda" — alongside those who haven't yet made it big — like cardboard cut-out news anchors from "The Report Card."

The hope is that kids who come to watch their favourite characters will get interested in new ones that might one day become just as valuable.

Robbins compared his channel to cable TV networks such as MTV and ESPN in the 1970s and '80s. What were once fledgling networks that no one watched have now become multibillion-dollar enterprises that are the bedrocks of major media companies.

"This is really about building the cable channel of tomorrow," Robbins said in an interview. "What we think is happening digitally is that the next generation of those brands will be born out of this digital revolution that's going on."

AwesomenessTV was one of the startup channels that received a small piece of the $100 million in seed funding that YouTube doled out to some 100 creators two years ago to develop original content for the online video platform.

Today, it is one of the few to have amassed an audience large enough to attract the attention of a major studio. DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. bought AwesomenessTV in May 2013 for what could exceed $100 million if the channel operator continues to hit its earnings targets. This March, The Walt Disney Co. said it would pay up to $950 million for rival YouTube channel operator Maker Studios, a price that makes the AwesomenessTV deal seem like a bargain.

The online platform will be a relatively inexpensive way to develop hits and to forget failures.

Birk Rawlings, head of animation at DreamWorks TV, said the network will debut more than a dozen new shows in the first few weeks, including "Jimmy Blue Shorts" and "Fifi Cat Therapist." One live-action show will re-imagine the comic book character "Richie Rich," one of the hundreds of characters DreamWorks acquired when it bought Classic Media in June 2012.

Executives will tweak the lineup based on audience feedback in the form of "likes," repeat viewings and the amount of time people stick around.

The venture represents a great way for DreamWorks to try out new content and keep audiences engaged with their biggest franchises, said Peter Csathy, chief executive of Manatt Digital Media Ventures, an investor in YouTube channel network DanceOn. He said it's fine if some quickly made programming doesn't live up to the luscious imagery and vibrant animation of the DreamWorks brand.

"You don't have to wait to see if you succeed after you put hundreds of millions of dollars into 'Shrek,'" he said. "Now you can put in a fraction of that and throw spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks."

___

Online:

"The Report Card" Episode 1: http://bit.ly/1mTnfUG

Behind the scenes of "The Report Card": http://bit.ly/1p3h0jM

"Jimmy Blue Shorts" Episode 1: http://bit.ly/1xWzpoD

"Record Setter Kids," Episode 1: http://bit.ly/1jpwZ7Z

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Keri Latimer looks for beauty in the dark and the spaces between the notes

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Goslings with some size head for cover Wednesday afternoon on Commerce Drive in Tuxedo Business Park - See Bryksa 30 Goose Challenge- Day 12- May 16, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A goose heads for shade in the sunshine Friday afternoon at Woodsworth Park in Winnipeg - Day 26– June 22, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you like Gord Steeves’ idea to sell four city-owned golf courses to fund road renewal?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google