As the new owner of the Roald Dahl Story Company, which holds the rights literary works from his Tales of the Unexpected, through James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and through to Mathilda and the Minpins, the US streaming giant controls said it is planning to create a “unique universe” that involves “immersive experiences”, games and “consumer products”, as well as content for its video streaming service.
The deal builds on previous agreements with the Cardfiff-born author’s rightsholder to make TV shows, including a Charlie And The Chocolate Factory series and another focused on the Oompa-Loompas with director Taika Waititi, as well as producing a film version of Tim Minchin’s Matilda The Musical.
No financial details have been announced, with the deal being unveiled vai a blog post by Luke Kelly, the head of the Roald Dahl Story Company and the author’s grandson, alongside Ted Sarandos, the chief content officer for Netflix.
Earlier this week, Netflix also announced a new 20-year deal to lease the UK’s Longcross Studios from asset manager Aviva.
This is “a breakthrough moment for Netflix”, said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, suggesting the company has eyed Disney+ success in attracting subscriptions from parents who know the service has content that their children will watch over and over again.
“[Netflix] has now got its hands on a rich library of weird and wonderful characters, meaning it can create spin-off shows, remake films of the most popular books and sweat the assets even further.
“Disney’s purchase of the Star Wars empire raised eyebrows at the time, but it has perfectly demonstrated how strong intellectual property can be used to create a multitude of content. The Roald Dahl acquisition is Netflix’s chance to do the same.”
Netflix will post its third-quarter financial results and outlook on Tuesday, October 19.