Netflix acquires Roald Dahl’s company to bring new films and shows to streaming service

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Streaming giant Netflix has bought the Roald Dahl Story Company – a deal which includes the author’s entire back catalogue that will bring films, shows and potentially games to the broadcaster.

The company will now control the rights to the author’s entire literary works, and is eyeing the creation of a “unique universe” that involves “immersive experiences”, “games” and “consumer products” – as well as films and TV shows.

Netflix already had an agreement in place from 2018 to create a number of television shows (such as another Charlie And The Chocolate Factory reboot with Taika Waititi) and produce the film version of Tim Minchin’s Matilda The Musical, with the company.

It comes days after the government said it would force British broadcasters to produce British-made shows, and while Netflix is based in California, the streamer makes much of its content in the UK – including things like Sex Education, The Crown and The Haunting Of Bly Manor.

In a blog post, the head of the Roald Dahl Story Company and the author’s grandson Luke Kelly, alongside Ted Sarandos, the chief content officer for Netflix, said: “As we bring these timeless tales to more audiences in new formats, we’re committed to maintaining their unique spirit and their universal themes of surprise and kindness, while also sprinkling some fresh magic into the mix.

“We want to say a huge thank you to all the people who have contributed to this great story so far. Looking ahead, we’re excited to continue the close working relationships established by RDSC with existing rights holders, publishing, theatre and entertainment partners, and many others to protect and grow the great legacy of these beloved stories.

“Netflix and The Roald Dahl Story Company share a deep love of storytelling and a growing, global fan base.

“Together, we have an extraordinary opportunity to write multiple new chapters of these beloved stories, delighting children and adults around the world for generations to come.”

There is no indication of how much the deal is worth.

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It’s the latest escalation in the global streaming wars, which sees companies trying to win over consumers by buying up content to compliment its originals.

Netflix already has agreements with the likes of Sony, which distributes its films straight to the platform, while Amazon Prime Video has recently bought out studio MGM – the makers of the James Bond films.

Disney is also buying up content, having already captured the rights to National Geographic, Marvel and Fox.

Roald Dahl, who died in 1990 aged 74, is one of the UK’s best-loved writers, known for books such as The Twits, James And The Giant Peach and The BFG.

More than 250 million copies of his books have been sold around the world, and have been translated into dozens of languages.

His company is currently producing an animated series for the streamer, thought to be costing around $1 billion, as well as nine new stage shows and an immersive experience which will bring the famed Wonka factory to life.

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