Comcast is in talks to purchase DreamWorks Animation, maker of such films as "Kung Fu Panda," for more than $3 billion, inside sources say. The deal would make Comcast a direct competitor to Walt Disney Co. and would include online assets such as AwesomenessTV. The animation studio would reportedly remain separate from Comcast's Universal Pictures.
DreamWorks Animation, having signed a film-distribution deal with 20th Century Fox, is in talks with the studio about creating a cable channel built around such franchises as "Kung Fu Panda" and "Casper," according to CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg. DreamWorks' new five-year pact with 20th Century Fox also gives it the ability to negotiate with other distributors for the cable network, Katzenberg said.
DreamWorks Animation and Youku.com have signed an agreement for online distribution rights to the studio's "Kung Fu Panda" movies in China. The online-video site will first offer the two animated features on Youku Premium, then will make them available on its Hollywood Movie Channel.
"Kung Fu Panda" and "Megamind" are two examples of recent movie brands that have branched over into the social gaming world, which is also winning attention from celebrities and the recording industry. Zynga is customizing its "FarmVille" game for a tie-in with Lady Gaga's newest album, and Playfish is partnering with TV chef Jamie Oliver.