Netflix Buys Rights To Works Of Celebrated Children’s Author Roald Dahl
Streaming giant Netflix is acquiring the rights to the entire catalog of Roald Dahl, the late British author of children’s classics such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the company said Wednesday, in a deal that will encompass opportunities beyond screen adaptations.
Netflix is buying the Roald Dahl Story Company, which oversees the rights to the author’s characters and stories, including The BFG, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Willy Wonka — it did not disclose the purchase price.
Netflix said it will pursue opportunities based on Dahl’s work in games, immersive experiences, live theater, animated and live-action films, and consumer products.
The streaming giant had signed an agreement three years ago with the Roald Dahl Story Company under which it is creating a series based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with award-winning filmmaker Taika Waititi and an adaptation of Matilda The Musical with Sony, Netflix said in a statement.
The celebrated author’s books have been translated into more than 60 languages and sold over 300 million copies worldwide, the statement said.
It is rare for Netflix to purchase an entire catalog of work, as it usually brings in filmmakers and TV producers to create original content. The streaming giant’s latest purchase comes amid heated competition and sluggish subscriber growth: After adding more than 36 million subscribers in 2020, Netflix added around 1.5 million global subscribers in the second quarter of this year, compared to the 10.1 million it added in the same time last year. By market share, Netflix is the No.1 streaming service with around 209 million paid subscribers worldwide, with Disney+, AT&T’s HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock trailing behind. Netflix’s 2018 partnership with the Roald Dahl Story Company was reportedly worth between $500 million and $1 billion, marking the biggest ever for kids’ programming.
The author, who died in 1990 at the age of 74, has a complicated legacy due to his anti-Semitic remarks, for which his company has apologized, and allegations of racism and misogyny.
With Subscriber Misses By Netflix, Disney, Should Streaming Bulls Worry? (Forbes)
Netflix Subscriber Growth Slows After Surging During Pandemic (Forbes)