In a landmark output arrangement estimated to be worth between $350m and $450m, Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) has entered into a deal with DreamWorks SKG giving TBS entertainment networks US broadcast TV rights to 60 of the studio's films.
Touted as the biggest film licensing agreement in the history of basic cable television, the deal will see Turner Network Television (TNT) and TBS Superstation broadcast such DreamWorks hits as Gladiator, American Beauty, The Mexican, Cast Away, What Lies Beneath, Almost Famous, The Contender, The Legend Of Bagger Vance, Galaxy Quest, Forces Of Nature and The Peacemaker. Cartoon Network will also showcase DreamWorks animated pictures such as The Prince Of Egypt, Antz, The Road To El Dorado and Chicken Run.
It is the first time a basic cable programmer has struck a broadcast window output deal. TBS sister company HBO has pay-TV rights to DreamWorks films, while ABC has initial broadcast rights for up to three and a half years before they revert to TBS.
Combined with a smaller syndication window agreement between the two companies in 1999, this deal gives TBS access to nearly every DreamWorks title released theatrically from 1997 to 2007. That's an estimated 74 titles.
The deal with AOL Time Warner company TBS follows the failure last week of another wide-ranging distribution deal being negotiated between DreamWorks and AOL Time Warner's Warner Bros Pictures, for home video and international theatrical. Instead DreamWorks renewed its existing arrangement with Universal Studios.