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As the TV-viewing world continues its slow and incomplete transition from linear to streaming, more networks are starting to balance their advertising dollars through streaming subscriptions. Following CBS’ All Access service, another one of the Big 5 broadcasters is mulling its own exclusive platform, as The CW is at a point where that gamechanging decision would make a lot of sense. And if that happens, we can all presumably say goodbye to fan favorite CW shows like Arrow and The Flash on Netflix and Hulu.
Nothing official is coming out of The CW just yet, as the talks are reportedly ongoing, but the rumor is that the price point of $2-$4 a month is what’s on the table. Without the mega-audiences of the other four broadcasters, The CW would be smart to keep the price low in the beginning to bring in consumers who balk at $5+ fees, as well as those who might be angered by the network’s library going missing from other streaming sites.
What makes this an opportune time for such a big decision is the impending expiration of contracts, which is obviously the impetus of every person’s daily choices. The ten-year deal with Tribune Media Co. will be up this year, as well as those with Netflix and Hulu, according to Bloomberg. It’s likely that the network will stick with Tribune and current affiliates, an agreement that might be bolstered by the revenue of a streaming service. Tribune already knows what to expect, as it’s also the company behind CBS and All Access.
While it’s true that CW shows, even its popular superhero offerings, don’t score the highest of ratings, the network skews to a younger demographic, and these are the kind of people who are more likely to ditch cable for purely Internet-driven entertainment. So rather than trying to dedicate all of its efforts to advertise to that demo on TV, it’s undoubtedly easier just to take their money directly every month. While some networks are looking to cut back on commercials during primetime shows, it’s hard to argue that hosting your own shows online is a bad idea.
The CW got some great advertising the other night on the Golden Globes when the mega-talented Rachel Bloom took home the Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical for the delightful musical comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Raising awareness of the network’s expanding slate of original series like that certainly helps to justify making the choice to launch its own insular streaming service and sever its licensing ties with Netflix and Hulu.
Before you have to worry about where to binge on The Flash and Arrow in the future, just keeping tuning into them when they air live. (As well as the fun as hell spinoff Legends of Tomorrow.) Find out when all your favorite CW shows are premiering with our midseason TV schedule.