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Jeffrey Katzenburg says DreamWorks wants an international TV channel

Jeffrey Katzenburg says that DreamWorks is interested in launching a TV channel in the US and internationally.

Speaking in the wake of the studio’s second quarter results, the DreamWorks boss told analysts that the US$155 million acquisition of Classic Media will help it realise its channel ambitions.”We believe Classic Media will add greater stability to our hit-driven business model,” he said. “These include movies, television, consumer products, live entertainment and digital including our continued interest in establishing a DreamWorks channel with both domestic and international reach.”

DreamWorks has key properties with Nickelodeon, Kung Fu Panda: The Series and Penguins of Madagascar, and another, How To Train Your Dragon, at Cartoon Network. The Classic deal gives it a library range of new IP that it could develop for its own network.

The Classic library comprises 450 properties including Casper the Friendly Ghost, Where’s Waldo, George of the Jungle, Frosty the Snowman and Rocky and Bullwinkle. It also includes the Golden Books library. However some properties are not fully owned and others are already tied up in existing licensing deals.

Asked for more detail about the channel, Katzenburg said DreamWorks is in “aggressive exploration” mode, but it is too early to talk details.

“The brand is really begun to come into its own and it has real value,” he said. “It is unique and differentiated and so that creates the opportunity for us to build a branded family channel. And to say whether it’s going to be cable or digital, what parts of the world they will come first in [is too early to say], we are looking at a whole number of opportunities.”

The DreamWorks boss likened the Classic deal to that of Disney’s US$4 billion acquisition of Marvel in 2009.

“You know, they’ve done it just an exemplary job of taking great Classic IP and making it relevant for today,” he said. “I think that is what the level of opportunity is that exist for us with this. Obviously much more in the family brand that Marvel’s done it with the action hero genre. This library, frankly is, has much greater breadth and depth to it than theirs and you know, this will happen over many years.”