Comcast says it’s also looking to launch as many as four animated movies a year.
Following its acquisition of DreamWorks Animation, the goal is to create characters that will lead to theme park attractions and licensed merchandise to take “the low-single digit returns of the movie business and turn it into a different kind of business,” NBCUniversal’s chief, Steve Burke, told the Guggenheim Partners TMT Symposium yesterday.
Comcast agreed to pay $3.8bn for DWA, but Steve says the corporate synergies, and ability to consolidate costs, will enable it to pay off.
Illumination Entertainment’s Chris Meledandri will have creative control and “is creatively going to try to help us figure out how to resurrect Shrek and take a lot of the existing DreamWorks franchises and add value as we create new franchises.”
DWA has $250m worth of overhead costs, and with just two releases a year, Steve said “those films have to be spectacular.” The addition should also help NBCU’s efforts to generate profits from China.
On the programming side, NBCU is adjusting to the new environment by favouring shows that might also appeal to streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. It is also starting to make tens of millions a year from ad sales on clips from The Tonight Show that get picked up across the web.