Fans of The CW’s shows also better like using the platform’s streaming services: The network announced that all of its new in-season series would exclusively stream on The CW and the company’s digital platforms, The CW president Mark Pedowitz announced during TCA on Sunday.
The CW will exclusively stream every episode of its new series, including “Batwoman,” “Nancy Drew,” and “Katy Keene,” the day after broadcast, starting in the 2019-2020 television season. Viewers will be able to watch the shows on CWTV.com and via The CW app. After the season finale of each new show, the full season will be available to binge on The CW’s ad-supported digital platforms until 30 days prior to the start of the next season, according to the company.
The network also acquired the off-season streaming rights to the first four seasons of the Emmy-nominated comedy “Schitt’s Creek,” which became available to stream on all CW platforms and apps Sunday.
All CW shows are free to watch and do not require a subscription or login information.
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The news came a few days after The CW Executive Vice President Rick Haskins discussed the platform’s success with more collaborative strategies during the NATPE Streaming Plus event in Los Angeles Tuesday. Haskins noted that putting “Riverdale” and other CW shows on competitors such as Netflix helped broaden the audiences of those shows, who would then be enticed to watch new episodes on The CW platform.
The shift in strategy isn’t necessarily unexpected. “Riverdale” might be only a few years old, but the 2017 teen drama premiered in a starkly different streaming market, well before major competitors such as Apple and Disney were gearing up to release their own streaming services. The market is much more saturated than it was a few years ago, and CW is hardly the only platform to become stingier with regards to where it releases its original shows.
Content exclusivity has become the name of the game for most major streaming services and some businesses are willing to spend upwards of $100 million to retain their most popular series. That was the case in June, when it was announced that “The Office” would be leaving Netflix thanks to NBC’s bid of $100 million per year for five years.
As companies continue to enter the market with their own platforms in the next year, it’s likely that existing services will remain eager to retain the streaming rights to their most popular shows.