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Netflix expands Nickelodeon partnership with multi-year deal

Disney+ has mostly cornered the kid-friendly streaming market, but Netflix rallied Wednesday, bolstering its Nickelodeon relationship on a multi-year deal.

According to the news release from Netflix, the companies will collaborate on animated TV series and feature films. Nickelodeon president Brian Robbins spoke about wanting to expand “beyond linear platforms” in his remarks about the joining of creative forces:

The Nickelodeon Animation Studio is home to the world-class artists and storytellers behind some of the most iconic characters and shows ever made. […] The ideas and work at our Studio are flowing, and we can’t wait to work with Melissa and the Netflix team on a premium slate of original animated content for kids and families around the world.

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Robbins referred to Melissa Cobb in part of his statement. She’s Netflix’s vice president of original animation, and expressed enthusiasm about the partnership as well.

The projects between Netflix and Nickelodeon will feature not only new, original ideas, but also previously established “Nick” characters.

As is mentioned in the news release, too, Netflix is dropping its own animated feature this Friday, titled Klaus, which was the top trend on Twitter in the U.S. as of early Wednesday evening.

Klaus features a talented voice cast of Jason Schwartzman, J.K. Simmons and Rashida Jones. After 21 critics reviews on Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing, the film boasts a strong 86 percent score.

There’s clearly momentum and excitement around Netflix’s upside as a facilitator for animated projects.

The elephant — er, mouse — in the room

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It’s hard to ignore Tuesday’s launch of Disney+. Additionally, the timing of this Netflix-Nickelodeon development makes more sense in that context.

The Mouse House has full control over Hulu, where more of its mature titles in TV and film will go. Disney+ boasts a whole foundation of animated originals thanks to Disney’s deep prior catalog. Many of these used to be on Netflix, feeding a fledgling rivalry of sorts.

Then the more recent kings of animation, Pixar, have all their films on Disney+ after finding an initial streaming home on Netflix. The only ones not on the new streamer are those with current or recent theatrical releases — or those that have soon-to-expire exclusive rights deals.

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It’s still a savvy move by Netflix to team with Nickelodeon. There was a need to carve out a niche for children-oriented entertainment. Not that Netflix hasn’t produced any of that on its own. It’s just that Disney is so geared toward that demographic already.

The good news is Nickelodeon is no slouch when it comes to original TV animation greatness. They’ve had smash hits like SpongeBob SquarePants, Rugrats and Hey Arnold! among many others. Those are just a few of the IPs that have spawned feature animated movies.

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