CW Sleeps with the Enemy as Deal with Hulu Expires

As the deal with Hulu expires, this network is turning to Netflix (NFLX) to bring its high rated shows to the streaming service.

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Heads up, Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) fans, you can now watch your favorite CW shows as the network inks a deal that makes its highly rated series available on the service eight days after their respective season finales. The agreement came just in time for CW network’s 10th anniversary next month.

Although the deal generated quite a buzz, there are rumblings that a deal with Netflix might affect CW’s TV ratings, something that network president Mark Pedowitz shrugged off.

At a Television Critics Association’s summer press tour in L.A., Pedowitz said he is not worried that the deal will pull viewers away from linear TV, saying, “I believe that people who want to watch in-season are going to watch.” He added that the deal would enable people who want to watch the show after the season has ended, with an almost immediate chance to binge-watch.

The CW’s list of shows includes critically acclaimed but low-rated shows like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin. Pedowitz explains that these series, which “deserved to get picked up,” along with superhero shows Arrow and The Flash, have “redefined the identity of this network.”

Apart from clinching an agreement with Netflix, the CW has existing partnerships with streaming service Hulu. However, that deal is about to expire soon, which means the network will get exclusive in-season streaming rights to its show. Before the season starts, CW will expand its app to other streaming services, including Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast and Amazon Fire.

Last season, Jane the Virgin was CW’s most streamed series. Pedowitz noted that although Jane the Virgin’s live-plus-same-day ratings have slipped in Season 2, the show was able to maintain its C3 rating. There is also evidence that viewers were binge-watching the series’ first season. He added that Supergirl’s move to the network was unexpected until the show was offered to him in May, just as the fall season schedule was set.

“When Supergirl became available, I couldn’t sign up fast enough for it,” he said. Pedowitz said he knew immediately that the show has to keep the same timeslot it occupied on CBS last season, which required moving Crazy Ex-Girlfriend to Fridays.

After its CBS run, Supergirl generated 6.1 million viewers and a 1.3 rating in the 18-49 demo. Pedowitz said, “There is no question it probably will not do as well [on The CW]” but added that the show could be CW’s number 1 or 2 most watched series. Together with Supergirl, the CW will be airing four superhero shows this fall, including DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.

“We thought Legends last year did not perform as well as it should have,” Pedowitz said. “We made some mistakes.” When pressed if there are plans to add another superhero series to the network’s roster of shows, Pedowitz said CW is not closing its doors on spin-off series.

Because the CW has about 15 scripted series, which the network could launch in fall, midseason and summer, the network offers year-round programming, something that Pedowitz said is important to advertisers and audiences alike.

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