February sure is turning out to be an interesting month for Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) investors.
Almost exactly one year ago, the video streaming leader launched eight full episodes of its first original series, Lillyhammer, with Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos promising at the time it would be "the first of many brand new, original and exclusive series to debut on Netflix." Sure enough, less than two weeks ago and with the same "binge viewing" strategy in mind, Netflix released its second original series, House of Cards.
Now, according to a press release this morning, Netflix original content finally seems to be picking up steam, with the announcement of its third original series to be released in December. This time around, however, Netflix is focusing on its popular kids segment with the new series, titled Turbo: F.A.S.T.
Children's content has been hugely popular for Netflix since unveiling its "Just for Kids" functionality in August 2011. For those of you keeping track, that was the quarter after which Netflix toyed with its pricing plans and ended up with just 23.8 million total subscribers, down 810,000 from the prior quarter. Since then, Netflix has gained around 14.6 million total subscribers and ended the most recent quarter with more than 38.4 million paying customers.
In another interesting departure from House of Cards, which is based on the 1990 BBC miniseries of the same name, and the completely original Lillyhammer, Turbo: F.A.S.T. is cleverly based on the Dreamworks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA) feature film, Turbo, which will be released this coming July. True, there's risk involved with jointly developing original content for a yet-to-be-released children's film. After all, what if Turbo is a flop? Even still, Dreamworks' films have a habit of succeeding at the box office and it's fairly safe to expect Turbo will be no different.
But wait, there's more!
In addition to Turbo F.A.S.T., Dreamworks has also agreed to make its feature titles available to Netflix members in the United States beginning with its 2013 films. Considering the potential impact this will have going on Netflix forward, it's interesting that this juicy tidbit was buried in a single sentence at the bottom of the press release. Perhaps it's a telling sign, then, of Netflix's greater return on investment from original programming. While financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed, we can only hope management kept their prudence intact to get this deal signed, especially when we consider the fact that Netflix's recent Disney deal couldn't have come cheap.
When all is said and done, however, investors should be excited knowing Netflix continues to accelerate its plans to become a one-stop shop for the world's video entertainment needs.