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Netflix strikes major deal with Roald Dahl estate

Netflix has struck a major deal with the estate of well-loved British children’s author Roald Dahl.

The tech giant has struck an agreement with The Roald Dahl Story Company, which manages the copyright and trademarks of iconic children’s titles such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Twits.

The list of titles in the agreement between Netflix and the Roald Dahl estate includes Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG, The Twits, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, George’s Marvellous Medicine and more.

Netflix’s first Dahl animated series will start production in 2019. The platform said in a statement that while sticking to the “quintessential spirit and tone of Dahl”, it will focus on creating a Roald Dahl universe “beyond the pages” of his books.

The overall value of the deal has not been revealed. Endeavour Content put the deal together.

The tech giant is increasingly pushing into children’s programming and announced a slate of children’s programmes earlier this month, including a stop-motion adaptation of Pinocchio from Guillermo del Toro, as well as The Willoughbys, an adaptation from the Lois Lowry novel of the same name.

“Immersing ourselves in the extraordinary worlds of Roald Dahl stories has been an honor and a massive amount of fun, and we are grateful for the trust the Roald Dahl Story Company and the Dahl family have placed in our team to deliver more moments of shared joy to families around the world,” said Melissa Cobb, VP of Kids & Family Content at Netflix. “We have great creative ambition to reimagine the journeys of so many treasured Dahl characters in fresh, contemporary ways with the highest quality animation and production values.”

Felicity Dahl, Roald Dahl’s widow, said: “Our mission, which is purposefully lofty, is for as many children as possible around the world to experience the unique magic and positive message of Roald Dahl’s stories. This partnership with Netflix marks a significant move toward making that possible and is an incredibly exciting new chapter for the Roald Dahl Story Company. Roald would, I know, be thrilled.”

As Disney begins to ramp up its investment in family entertainment for its upcoming Disney+ service, Netflix may be looking to hold its own in the children’s programming arena with the move.