US broadcaster The CW is to offer viewers exclusive streaming access to its shows during their current seasons, starting with drama trio Batwoman, Nancy Drew and Katy Keene.
The arrangement comes after The CW’s parents, Warner Bros and CBS, ended a deal with Netflix that provided the US-based streamer with full seasons of the network’s new shows just eight days after their respective finales.
Legacy series will continue to be available via Netflix, but starting with the 2019-2020 season, The CW will exclusively stream every episode of its new series the day after broadcast throughout the season via ad-supported OTT service CWTV.com and the network’s app. After the finale of each new show, the full season will then be available to binge on until 30 days prior to the start of its next season.
Once that 30-day period begins, Batwoman – from AT&T-owned Warner Bros – will become available via its forthcoming streamer HBO Max, while Nancy Drew and Katy Keene, from The CW’s fellow parent CBS, are to be offered via OTT service CBS All Access.
The CW will then also continue to have a rolling five episodes of its new shows on its streaming platforms until the following season’s episodes become available. Similar windowing arrangements are expected to be applied to the channel’s future series.
For returning shows that premiered prior to the 2019-2020 season, the network will continue to have a rolling five episodes on its digital platforms the day after their network broadcast, with Netflix offering full seasons eight days after the season’s finale.
Mar Pedowitz, The CW president, said: “We are incredibly excited to offer our viewers the full stack of our new shows on our preeminent AVOD 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.
“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.”
Details of the new strategy were revealed at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour in L.A., where The CW also revealed it had acquired the first four seasons of PopTV’s comedy Schitt’s Creek. The series, which will also remain on Netflix in the US, is set to launch its sixth and final season next year.