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Netflix whisks DreamWorks deal from under HBO's nose

Dream contract to stream studio's movies

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Troubled US streaming service Netflix has bagged a deal to start piping DreamWorks Animation movies to punters.

The studio's contract with US television channel HBO expires the end of 2013, but according to the FT, the film company's new agreement with Netflix will allow the streaming service to show some of DreamWorks' films before then.

Netflix and the studio, which gave the world Shrek and Kung Fu Panda, are billing the pact as the first time a major Hollywood studio has chosen internet streaming over pay TV.

The contract, which is estimated to be worth $30m per movie to DreamWorks, replaces the studio's previous relationship with HBO, according to a report in the New York Times.

"You’re seeing power moving back into the hands of content creators. When a company like DreamWorks ends a long-running pay TV deal – when a new buyer in the space steps up – that’s a really interesting landscape shift," said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos.

"This is a game-changing deal," DreamWorks chief exec said in an interview. "We are really starting to see a long-term road map of where the industry is headed."

The deal should be a welcome boost to Netflix's fortunes, which have been flagging of late after its unpopular decision to separate its DVD and streaming rentals into two different websites and hike its tariffs.

Netflix expects to lose around a million of its 25 million US customers in the short term over the changes to its service. ®

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