Classic Media deal accelerates DreamWorks’ TV plans

DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenburg says its US$155 million acquisition of Classic Media will help it push further into China and accelerate its plans to expand into TV and digital media.

Katzenburg was speaking to the CNBC news channel after the announcement of the deal yesterday. “This is an enormous opportunity for us in every area, whether it’s exploiting [Classic’s properties] in the motion picture area, TV, digital channel, there are so many things for us to do around the world with it,” he said.

In February, DreamWorks created a new China-focused joint venture called, Oriental DreamWorks, and the Classic deal will help the company expand further into the country, according to the DreamWorks boss. “It adds a whole other set of opportunities for us in China,” he told CNBC.

The agreement announced yesterday will see DreamWorks buy Classic from Boomerang Holdings, which is in turn owned by US private equity firm GTCR. 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.

In the year to end-February 29, 2012, Classic Media earned net revenue of $82.2 million and operating profit of $19.2 million.

Separately, Katzenburg also said that DreamWorks has got another of its shows away with a US channel with an announcement giving details due in the next week to ten days. DreamWorks has placed three animated series with Nickelodeon, including Kung Fu Panda: The Series, and has one, How To Train Your Dragon, at Cartoon Network.

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