Nickelodeon is deepening its ties with Netflix, the streaming company that once nearly destroyed its business.
The two companies on Wednesday announced a multiyear pact that requires Nickelodeon to produce original animated feature films and television shows for the streaming service.
Terms of the deal were not announced, but the new arrangement is part of Nickelodeon President Brian Robbins’ strategy of bolstering the output of his Burbank animation studio.
Nickelodeon, however, isn’t planning to repeat the painful lesson it learned nearly a decade ago when it turned over its most valuable shows, including “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Dora the Explorer,” to Netflix. The move allowed Netflix to quickly grow its streaming business by enticing parents to leave their pay-TV bundles behind because the same Nickelodeon shows were available to stream, commercial-free.
The current deal calls for Viacom Inc.'s children’s network to produce new shows for Netflix. Nickelodeon said it will not license reruns of its most popular cartoons, including “SpongeBob” or “The Casagrandes,” which play on the traditional Nickelodeon-branded channels.
The deal continues a relationship that began earlier this year when Nickelodeon provided “Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling” and “Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus” to Netflix. Nickelodeon also is working on specials for Netflix that are outgrowths of “The Loud House” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
The move provides a bigger canvas for Ramsey Naito, who joined Nickelodeon late last year as its executive vice president of animation production and development. She oversaw production on the upcoming “SpongeBob SquarePants” movie for Paramount Pictures. Before that, Naito produced DreamWorks Animation’s “The Boss Baby” and is one of Robbins’ top deputies.
Netflix also has been investing heavily in animated kids shows to grow its platform worldwide in the facing of rising competition.
“Nickelodeon has generated scores of characters that kids love, and we look forward to telling wholly original stories that re-imagine and expand on the worlds they inhabit,” said Melissa Cobb, vice president of Netflix’s original animation.“We’re thrilled to continue collaborating with Brian Robbins, Ramsey Naito, and the creative team at Nickelodeon in new ways as we look to find fresh voices and bring bold stories to our global audience on Netflix.”
Robbins, who on Monday was named president of kids and family entertainment at Viacom, said in a statement: “The ideas and work at our studio are flowing, and we can’t wait to work with Melissa and the Netflix team on a premium slate of original animated content for kids and families around the world.”