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Mipcom Wrap-Up: Katzenberg Had Plans for ‘Breaking Bad’

10 Oct, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey

Jeffrey Katzenberg

DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg made a $75 million offer to extend AMC’s “Breaking Bad” for another three episodes, but with a major catch, he said during a keynote at the Mipcom conference in Cannes, France.

“I actually thought: ‘Well, if I can get them to produce three more hours of ‘Breaking Bad’ … if you will make 180 minutes,’ I said ‘I will pay you $25 million per episode,” Katzenberg said. “They would have made more profit from these three [episodes] than they made from five years of the entire series.”

The catch?

“You have to deliver them to me in six-minute segments [and] I’m going to create the greatest PPV television event,” he said.

Obviously that didn’t happen, but the idea Katzenberg pitched fit well with the rest of his presentation, which focused on the acceptance of new technologies and the importance of storytelling.

Despite the growth in Internet content, “linear TV will do just fine,” Katzenberg said, pointing to the history of media and entertainment. No new medium (radio, TV, the Internet) has fully replaced the previous way people consumed content.

“The entire media experience just becomes richer,” Katzenberg said.

But because today it’s so easy for anyone to make video of high quality, what’s going to stand out in the future is the quality of the content itself.

“As we look to the future we see only one limiting factor … great storytellers and great storytelling is hard to come by,” he said. “It’s just as hard today as it’s ever been to tell a great story.”

Katzenberg also shared DreamWorks Animation’s plans for Classic Media — which it acquired in mid-2012 for $155 million — saying the plan isn’t to just rehash all those “He-Man,” “Lassie” and “Bullwinkle” episodes it now owns. Instead, DreamWorks is looking to “reinvent them for the 21st century,” he said. “That’s the opportunity with Classic Media.”

In other Mipcom news:

• “The Walking Dead” will now air outside of the United States in 125 countries within 24 hours of being seen here. Fox International Channels (FIC) had previously waited up to a week before airing episodes of the series after their initial airing.

“We’re committed to delivering huge tentpole hits like ‘The Walking Dead’ to our fans as quickly as we can. And we pull out all the stops to do it in a huge way,” said Liz Dolan, FIC’s chief marketing officer. “Because of FIC’s scale, we have the uncommon luxury of huge, cross-demo reach. Just last week our team in Japan staged a zombie invasion at a baseball game, which was immediately seen across our Fox Sports networks there. You can get really creative with what you do on this show, and our teams around the world have been very effective in pushing the boundaries. It is every marketer’s dream.”

• Al Jazeera announced it would launch a new dedicated online channel, available to the public in the next few months.

“News consumption habits are changing,” said Yaser Bishr, Al Jazeera’s executive director for strategy and development. “Al Jazeera, through this channel, demonstrates a commitment to innovation by creating a new digital destination for journalism. Its content will grab attention, captivate and empower global conversations.”

• LoveFilm, the Amazon-owned subscription VOD service, closed a streaming deal with Germany’s Tele München Group, bringing Magic Mike, Midnight in Paris, Iron Man 3, the “Twilight” series and more to LoveFilm subscribers in Germany.

“We are pleased, together with LoveFilm, to offer a second pay-window that makes it so easy for the very many fans of films and series to access our top titles in their living rooms and on their mobile devices, exclusively via LoveFilm’s subscription VOD service,” said Herbert L. Kloiber, managing director of Tele München Group. "Our highly varied portfolio offers attractive films and series for every taste and is now available individually at any time via LoveFilm."

• Switzerland-based free, ad-supported VOD service Viewster inked content deals with Starz Digital Media, Shine Group, Dori Media Group and All3Media Now Live, bringing British dramas, American comedies, Swedish crime shows and Telenovelas from Argentina and Israel to Viewster.

All told, the agreements bring more than 500 hours of new programming to Viewster.

“We are in a transition from a broad library toward top international series that we are making available free and ad-supported on the other side of the Atlantic. Our young audience just loves the new titles,” said Viewster CEO Kai Henniges. “We believe that the diversity in European and worldwide video content should be made available more openly — there are just so many great originals out there that haven’t been shown on every channel or website in your country before.”

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