Netflix Acquires Roald Dahl Story Company

Three years after forming a partnership for original animated TV series, Netflix Sept. 22 announced it is purchasing the Roald Dahl Story Company for an undisclosed amount. The prolific British novelist, short-story writer, poet and screenwriter died in 1990 at the age of 74.

Netflix currently has Academy Award winning director Taika Waititi and Oscar nominee Phil Johnston working on a series based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In addition, Netflix  is working with Sony Pictures and Working Title on an adaptation of Matilda The Musical.

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“These projects opened our eyes to a much more ambitious venture — the creation of a unique universe across animated and live-action films and TV, publishing, games, immersive experiences, live theater, consumer products and more,” Ted Sarandos, co-CEO and chief content officer, and Luke Kelly, managing director of RDSC and Dahl’s grandson, wrote in a blog post.

Dahl’s books have been translated into 63 languages and sold more than 300 million copies worldwide, with characters such as Matilda, The BFG, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Willy Wonka and The Twits, among others.

“As we bring these timeless tales to more audiences in new formats, we’re committed to maintaining their unique spirit and their universal themes of surprise and kindness, while also sprinkling some fresh magic into the mix,” Sarandos and Kelly wrote.

Completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Netflix Eyeing Content Deal Involving Late Children’s Author Roald Dahl

Netflix reportedly is about acquire exclusive streaming rights to late author Roald Dahl’s extensive library of renowned children’s books, including George’s Marvellous Medicine, Boy and Fantastic Mr. Fox, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Twits, among others.

Dahl’s books have reportedly sold more than 200 million copies globally.

The deal — first reported by Sky News in the United Kingdom — would enable Netflix to create original animated and live-action children’s content. It would also be a feather in the cap for Melissa Cobb, VP of kids and family entertainment, who was specifically hired away from DreamWorks Animation last year to up the SVOD pioneer’s profile in children’s programming.

“We know that there is no one type of family,” Cobb said earlier this month when Netflix announced an ambitious family-friendly program slate going forward. “We embrace all kinds of creators, so we can tell unique and diverse stories that resonate with each and every Netflix family.”

While details of the agreement with The Roald Dahl Story Co. remain under wraps, Netflix has made no secret its desire to spend top dollar acquiring IP exclusivity.

The service, which ended its most-recent fiscal period with 130 million paid subscribers worldwide, in late October raised $2 billion in a bond (debt) sale earmarked for capital expenditures.

Netflix also ended the quarter with $18.6 billion in third-party content obligations, excluding $8.3 billion in long-term debt.