Working with Netflix sounds ideal for DreamWorks Animation. The studio retains full creative control, and instead of just 'green-lighting' 13 episodes at a time, as a TV network would, it has a commitment for the equivalent of multiple seasons.
Those aren't the only reasons Katzenberg decided to take his content to Netflix rather than a kids-oriented cable TV show such as Nickelodeon. "This is where family and kids are," he said. They're probably "the No. 1 destination for kids," he added.
(Read More: Netflix Strikes Largest Original Content Deal Ever)
Katzenberg made the company's biggest change when he struck a deal with two Chinese media organizations to build a production studio in Shanghai. The new company, Oriental DreamWorks, will produce and distribute both animated and live-action features, as well as animated TV programming.
Recently returned from a trip to China, Katzenberg said, "It's opened up significantly in the last two years, and it's a much, much more open market today." There, "they look at 7 percent, 7.5 percent growth in GDP as a problem," he said. "We'd be dancing in the streets."
Why did Katzenberg pull the trigger on building a new TV studio right now? It's partly a function of scale. The studio has six established franchises, plus its acquisition of the Classic Media library.
And then there's the logistics. Now that its distribution deal with Paramount has expired, DreamWorks Animation owns the necessary rights.