The CW has had exclusive in-season streaming rights to its shows since the 2015 end of the pact the network had with Hulu, but they were limited to the most recently broadcast 5 episodes (the rolling 5). Additionally, the CW currently loses those episodes quickly after the end of the season as past seasons of the CW’s series go to Netflix eight days after finale airs on the CW.
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That will still apply to returning CW shows, but, following the decision by the CW parents Warner Bros. TV and CBS TV Studios not to renew the Netflix pact, the CW Network and its digital platforms are getting exclusive, full in-season rights and will be the exclusive streaming home for the full current seasons of each of its new series going forward, beginning with Batwoman, Nancy Drew and Katy Keene.
Beginning with the 2019-2020 season, The CW will exclusively stream every episode of its new series the day after broadcast throughout the season on CWTV.com and The CW app.
Under the pacts Warner Bros. TV made for complete seasons of Batwoman and Katy Keene to run on sibling HBO Max and CBS TV Studios made for past seasons of Nancy Drew to be carried by CBS All Access, they will get those seasons 30 days before the start of the next season. That means that after the season finale of each new show, the full season will be available to binge on The CW’s digital platforms until 30 days prior to the the next season premiere vs. the most recent 5 episodes eight days after the previous season’s finale for the existing shows.
Once inside the 30-day window, the CW will have the ability to stream any 5 episodes from the previous season of the three shows on its streaming platforms until the following season’s episodes become available. As the new season kicks in and new episodes of the shows start to air, the five episodes from the previous season will gradually get replaced one by one with episodes from the current season until the CW digital platforms – CWTV.com and The CW app — start “stacking” the new season. Both services are free, with no subscription, login or authentication required, and fully ad supported.
The in-season streaming terms for the CW series will stay the same regardless where Warner Bros. and CBS Studios sell past seasons of future series for the network. (Expectation is that they will continue to go to HBO Max and CBS All Access.)
“We are incredibly excited to offer our viewers the full stack of our new shows on our preeminent A-VOD digital platforms, giving them the chance to catch up on these shows from the beginning at any point during the season, for free and without authentication,” the CW President Mar Pedowitz said. “By being the exclusive in-season streaming home for our new series going forward, it also provides us with more information about how viewers are consuming our programming, how we can engage with them, and create even more multiplatform sales opportunities for advertisers.”