The Hollywood Reporter has covered DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg’s keynote presentation at Licensing Expo 2014, where he revealed the company’s acquisition of classic cartoon character Felix the Cat and an initiative to launch a high-tech, immersive Santa Claus experience available for deployment to shopping malls starting this year. Katzenberg stated that Felix will be used in everything from entertainment to fashion, although his presentation did not cover when and how Felix would be used in detail. The Santa initiative, dubbed “DreamWorks DreamHouse” promises to replace the classic man-in-a-red-suit setup with “a fully immersive story that will appeal to parents as well as kids…hosted by our characters and [including] a thrilling four-minute flight on Santa’s sleigh to visit the big buy in his home at the North Pole.”
Katzenberg also discussed the many advances and challenges for DreamWorks over the past few years, including the launch of the new Apollo CGI system (first used in How to Train Your Dragon 2), the rise in importance of international markets, and the content deals DreamWorks has inked with Netflix.
UPDATED: The New York Times’ writeup of Katzenberg’s presentation delves much deeper into the business motivations behind both of these moves, noting that diversification of income streams has been underway at DreamWorks Animation for at least two years. A Wall Street analyst is cited as saying that 71% of DreamWorks’ revenue came from new movies last year, but that amount is expected to drop to only 48% due to the revenue stream diversification efforts.