The CW Prepares for Life After Netflix Deal

The CW’s distribution deal with Netflix is set to conclude, but The CW president Mark Pedowitz said the broadcast net is in good shape to thrive without the viewership boost Netflix gives its series.

The CW-Netflix deal was inked in 2011 and re-upped in 2016. It ends this spring.

The CW unveiled three shows at its upfront presentation May 16:Batwoman, Nancy Drew and Katy Keene. Those series are not set up to stream on Netflix. Deadline reported that they are being shopped to various streaming platforms. Netflix is free to bid on new CW programs.

Current shows will continue to stream on Netflix after the deal ends.

The CW’s parents are Warner Bros. and CBS.

Several media companies are set to premiere streaming products, such as WarnerMedia, which will do so early next year.

The CW is well set up for streaming on its own. Rob Tuck, executive VP of national sales, called The CW “the original multiplatform network” at the upfront show. He said the CW app is approaching 60 million downloads.

Pedowitz said the end of the Netflix pact does not affect The CW’s strategy. “We have a very strong brand, and it is really up to our studio partners to decide where the past seasons of our programming goes,” he said. “It’s important to note that The CW is a vital part of their ecosystem. We end up as a platform making these shows popular and they have increased value across the multiplatform system. The studio partner companies will figure out where they wish to do with the out-of-season rights.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.