The CW will never be a network that draws the same numbers as any of the Big Four, but it has been picking up bigger audiences in recent years thanks to its DC comic series. Folks without access to The CW have had to go without weekly episodes of The Flash and Arrow for small screen superhero fixes, waiting until non-superhero shows like Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend finally hit other streaming services to binge. Luckily for existing fans and CW virgins alike, the network's app will soon make it possible for anybody to catch episodes of CW series free of charge in a brand new way.
The new CW app will make the network's current library available on a variety of streaming platforms. Roku, Chromecast, AirPlay, AppleTV, Xbox, and Amazon Fire TV will all make it possible for people to stream CW content on a screen bigger than phone or tablet. But don't worry, you'll be able to get all of this loveliness on your phones and tablets, too. The announcement seems to indicate that the episodes will be available soon after airing, presumably in the next day or so, although it's possible the five-episode cap will still exist. The CW app will give also access to sneak peeks, digital content, and trailers.
News of the app update comes just as The CW is on the verge of kicking off its 2016 - 2017 TV season, and news broke a few months ago that Hulu did not lock down a deal to continue streaming the network's shows moving forward. Instead, the shows' respective seasons will debut on Netflix after their completion. So for Hulu subscribers, there's no longer a worry about catching up in case of an exploding DVR.
There are three new shows in the works on The CW that might benefit from the new viewing option. No Tomorrow and Frequency will debut in competitive Tuesday night and Wednesday night time slots, at times when audiences may not be inclined to check out The CW over the live programming on the bigger networks. The convenience of the app update may help the new shows build an audience. Riverdale may enjoy a boost as well when it premieres in 2017.
The update should also be fantastic when it comes to existing shows. The CW's DC universe has grown to include a whopping four shows on four nights in a row, and some fans may not be able to tune in Monday - Thursday at 8 p.m. ET every week. Three of the four shows share a universe, and a ginormous crossover is in the works. Viewers may need to watch every episode of each of the series to understand what's going on in any of them. Considering that the Flashpoint story is going to extend beyond The Flash in 2016 - 2017, the entire DC universe may get pretty confusing for anybody who can't catch every relevant episode as it airs live. The CW app could be super helpful on the superhero front.
Only time will tell if the CW app update works as intended. All the networks have been increasingly desperate to set up streaming services, but not all of the streaming services have done well with consumers. Hopefully the app update does the trick for those of us who like to catch up on our CW without needing to watch it on a tiny screen. Be sure to check out our fall TV premiere schedule to see when all the CW's shows will be back on the airwaves in the near future.