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Netflix Hires Former Dreamworks Exec To Head Kids And Family Content – And Gives A Big Clue About Where They’re Headed



Netflix has hired Melissa Cobb from Dreamworks Animation as its vice president for kids and family.
In her new role at the leading internet streamer, Cobb will oversee the creation and acquisition of series and films for children and families, and will be tasked with “an expanded focus on high quality series and event programming across the spectrum of kids and family entertainment, including both animation and live action.” She will report directly to Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos.
The notable thing here is that Netflix didn’t hire someone with a television background, but rather someone with a film background. It’s a surprising choice given that Netflix’s original family programming until now has mostly focused around series. As the description of her role acknowledges, Cobb will also be involved with the creation and acquisition of films. We’ve heard the rumors that Netflix is prepping for a bigger move into original feature animation production, and Cobb’s hire lends credence to the theory that Netflix is taking a step in that direction.

Cobb was most recently chief creative officer and head of studio for Oriental Dreamworks. From her Shanghai, China base, she oversaw all aspects of running the studio and U.S./China collaboration including creative oversight of all projects in development and production, business strategy, and production strategy for a slate of films including the upcoming Dreamworks pic Everest.
Prior to Oriental Dreamworks, Cobb was a producer at Dreamworks, including on the Kung Fu Panda series. Kung Fu Panda 2 director Jennifer Yuh Nelson recently credited Cobb for nudging her into the director’s chair, making Yuh Nelson the only solo woman director of a major Hollywood animated feature this decade so far.
“Melissa brings a wealth of experience creating and overseeing series and feature films that resonate with kids and families across the globe. No matter where they live, our members find tremendous enjoyment in our kids and family content, and I couldn’t be happier to have Melissa on board to continue expanding into new and exciting areas,” said Sarandos.
“Given the creative freedom offered here and the global audience, there’s a huge opportunity for talented creatives across the industry to create the world’s best kids and family series and features for Netflix,” said Cobb. “My goal for this team is to offer a diverse slate of great, powerful and timeless family entertainment with global appeal, and to be creator and talent friendly, while striving for the highest quality in everything we do.”
Prior to her work at Dreamworks, Cobb worked at 20th Century Fox Feature Animation, where her credits included Titan A.E. and Ever After. Earlier, at Walt Disney Pictures, she helped discover and develop live-action titles, including Blank Check, the 1994 remake of The Jungle Book, and Man of the House. She holds an M.B.A. from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA and a B.S. from Stanford University.

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