DreamWorks Animation launches new series with YouTube

A video cameraman records a wild year-in-review YouTube music video on the roof of a Los Angeles building.
(Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

DreamWorks Animation is expanding its partnership with YouTube.

The Glendale-based computer animation company is teaming up with YouTube to produce a series of daily shows that will highlight some of the most compelling entertainment on the video-sharing website, according to a person familiar with the plans.

Called “YouTube Nation,” the program will feature five-minute highlights of the best of YouTube programming. The series will be produced by DreamWorks Animation and YouTube, which is financing the venture, and is expected to debut next week.

In a departure from other deals with entertainment players, YouTube will be heavily involved in the programming, helping to select popular shows by what’s trending on the video-sharing website, which is owned by Google.


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The series will have its own host and a team of 10 people hired by DreamWorks Animation to help curate shows and identify interesting programming.

Representatives at DreamWorks Animation and YouTube declined to comment.

The partnership is the first of its kind between a major studio and YouTube, which has invested heavily in financing new entertainment programs and building stronger ties with Hollywood.


For DreamWorks, the new show deepens its ties to YouTube and reflects Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg’s growing interest in the Internet as an entertainment platform. Last year, his studio acquired the YouTube teen network AwesomenessTV for $33 million in cash.

The collaboration also reflects a strategy by DreamWorks to diversify its business and become less reliant on producing animated feature films. The creator of the “Shrek,” “Madagascar” and “Kung Fu Panda” movies has ramped up its television program as part of a landmark deal it signed with Netflix last year to supply 300 hours of animated programming to the video-streaming service.

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YouTube won millions of viewers on the strength of quirky, user-created videos. As the site grew and its global reach expanded, the online video site has attracted established entertainment industry players who are eager to reach a generation of young, Internet-savvy viewers.


In 2012, Alloy Digital bought YouTube’s Clevver Media, and Legendary Entertainment reached an agreement to buy comedian Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist Industries, which operates a popular YouTube channel.

YouTube attracts more than 1 billion visitors each month and reaches more U.S. adults ages 18 to 34 than any cable network, according to Nielsen.

The co-production plans were first reported last year by the website VideoInk.

Times staff writer Dawn C. Chmielewski contributed to this report.


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