Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has revealed that he offered the creators of Breaking Bad $75 million (€55.5m) for three extra episodes of the cult drama to run after the end of the last series. The intention was to air these online in 30 daily, six-minute bites.
Delivering a MIPCOM Personality of the Year keynote speech, he accepted that this would have turned out to be a “bad idea”, given plot twists making any sequel impossible.
According to Katzenberg, the sum offered was more than seven times the series budget of $3.5 million an episode. Had the deal succeeded, Katzenberg was looking to charge $1 for a daily episode.
Although the deal failed to come to fruition, Katzenberg suggested that high-calibre, short-form content delivered online would play a key part in the future of TV. “We’ve always spent a long time waiting but now we have touch screens to distract us and that presents a massive opportunity for short-form entertainment. There has to be high-quality, short-form story telling. It’s not all skateboarding ducks.”
He nevertheless delivered a robust defence of linear TV. “In the 40 years I have been in the entertainment industry, I don’t think there’s ever been a time filled with so much new and unique opportunity for the world of television,” he told delegates. “Of course there will continue to be exponential growth of Internet-delivered content, but linear TV will continue to do just fine. The development of technology is not displacive, it’s cumulative.”