For DreamWorks Animation, it's a much-needed new revenue stream.DWA shares have plummeted on reports that the animation studio could lay off as much as 20 percent of its staff. (Read More: DreamWorks Shares Fall After Movie Delay)
The company has struggled with incredibly volatile stock performance, which reflects the fact that it releases just a few films a year. The reports of layoffs come as the studio delayed release of "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" from November 2013 to March 2014. DWA has been working on more TV shows, but the nature of its premium digital animation means a long lead-time. The Netflix deal is yet another move to diversity revenue away from reliance on the box office just twice a year, and the resulting home video revenue.
(Read More: DreamWorks Animation's China Venture Attracts Option Bulls)
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_ By CNBC's Julia Boorstin; follow her on Twitter at @Jboorstin.