Who wears the pants in the family? Netflix betting that it’s the kids

Mickey. Dora. Buzz. Kids are on a first-name basis with their favorite characters, and it’s that kind of loyalty that Netflix is hoping to instill in its original kids programming, thanks to a lucrative partnership with DreamWorks.

DreamWorks has deep experience with kid-focused content. It has already launched multiple successful television offshoots of blockbuster children’s movies. The first, Penguins of Madagascar, launched in 2009 after the success of the company’s Madagascar movie franchise, and will launch a new season this summer on Nickelodeon. In fact, every single one of the company’s four animated television series for both Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network has been renewed and continues to draw views from pint-sized fans who can’t get enough of their favorite characters.

Even better for Netflix, its first series under the deal with Dreamworks, Turbo: F.A.S.T., piggybacks on the soon-to-be-released Turbo — giving the streaming service plenty of room to develop the show around a fresh audience and a new character. That could lay the foundation to move other successful DreamWorks’ properties to Netflix, beyond the 300 hours of original programming included in this deal.

The deal  — which also helps fill a void Netflix created when its partnership with Viacom fizzled out — stands to round out its successful programming for adult viewers, namely House of Cards and the revival of Arrested Development. By banking on already-known characters like Shrek and Po, Netflix creates more likelihood that moms and dads will make the subscription service a fixture in households. And that could help establish the company full time in the kids programming arena, where it’s tried to gain a foothold over the last few years.