Lost in the smoking rubble of recent Netflix news is the fact that the streaming media provider this week was involved in a major TV Everywhere milestone.

Netflix landed an exclusive deal as distributor of films and television specials produced by DreamWorks Animation, which is behind hits such as "Shrek," Kung Fu Panda" and "How to Train Your Dragon." The agreement begins in 2013.

The deal involved a Hollywood giant shunning a known cable TV distributor in favor of one that lives on the Internet as Netflix outbid HBO.

Why is this interesting from an identity angle? TV Everywhere is a federated identity proof point, identity is the linchpin for the killer app.

TV Everywhere involves content providers, content distributors and end-users and how they will authenticate and authorize access among networks.

Ping's CTO Patrick Harding previously laid out the issues in his post "TV Everywhere - It's an authentication problem."

The DreamWorks deal is the latest slice in the TV Everywhere wars that pit traditional TV programmers and cable providers against emerging alternative television/film delivery methods such as NetFlix, Google, Apple, Hulu, Boxee and others.

Habib Kairouza, managing partner of Rho Capital Partners and Rho Ventures, in a blog on GigaOM labeled the war as "an  inevitable generational shift that is unfolding in the way we consume content. "

In fact, the churn continued today with Reuters reporting that Google bid $4 billion to acquire Hulu, while Dish Network offered $1.9 billion. Amazon and Yahoo also were in the running but were said to have offered lower bids.

The Netflix-DreamWorks announcement is in contrast to deals ESPN struck last year for TV Everywhere distribution of its content where it picked traditional cable providers over the Internet newcomers.

The DreamWorks move is a save for Netflix, which couldn't close a deal and will lose early next year streaming distribution rights to films from Walt Disney Studios and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Both the DreamWorks and ESPN deals, however, show in the emerging new world of television that content creators may just wield the most power. And will likely determine who comes out on top.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks CEO, told the New York Times that the Netflix move was "a game-changing deal," and said it provides insight into "a long-term road map of where the industry is headed." He said in the near future consumers won't make a distinction between content providers.

What that means is that he's betting along with others that consumers will only care what screens those providers support and how users log-in and start watching.

 

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