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WSJ: CW Affiliate(s) Concerned About Streaming

Some CW-aligned stations are upset at the network for its next-day online streaming of hit shows, reports the Wall Street Journal. The CW of course attracts a younger demo, and the WSJ says it’s been more aggressive than the senior broadcast networks about making its shows available online–closing the window from three days to one.

The paper suggests it has affected live viewing. 

Nearly a fifth of CW viewers are watching on the Web, double from this time last year, the network says, while the average prime-time audience watching CW shows on regular television is down 14% to 1.8 million, according to Nielsen data.  

Notably, the article quotes just one CW affiliate, and one that is actively looking to exit the station business.

“This should raise the hair on the back of all affiliates,” said Doug Gealy, chief executive of Acme Communications Inc., which once owned many CW-affiliated stations but has sold off all but one. Mr. Gealy thinks the network still needs its stations and their local programming to drive an audience online or off. “The bottom line is that they have to have television stations to reach enough viewers to make their business viable,” he says. 

Attendees of the “Conversation with The CW” affiliates meeting in Las Vegas tell me the topic occupied around two minutes of a 90-minute meeting that was largely a free forum for affiliates to fire questions at CW leadership, including rookie president Mark Pedowitz.  “I wouldn’t say it was a big issue,” says Shawn Harris, vice president and general manager of WJZY in Charlotte.

The affiliates I spoke with said Pedowitz made a strong impression, and said the network is even looking into the affiliates potentially sharing the online streaming with the network.

“Everyone seemed to be optimistic about what they’re seeing and hearing,” says Harris.