Advanced Television

Netflix secures The CW programming

October 14, 2011

By Colin Mann

Internet video streaming service Netflix is ramping up its TV content inventory by securing a licensing agreement with CBS and Warner Bros. TV allowing US members of Netflix instantly to watch previous seasons of scripted series that air on The CW from its current schedule through the 2014-15 season.


As part of this four-year output deal, Netflix has licensed the rights to stream more than 700 hours of previous-season episodes of The CW’s dramas as well as future programmes. These rights extend for four years after each series, current or future, ends its broadcast run on the network. The CW content can also be made available via traditional syndication windows, electronic sell-through services and, on a partial-season basis, through authenticated cable providers.


The CW – a joint venture between CBS and Warner Bros. – launched at the beginning of the 2006–2007 television season. The network features a line-up of shows that, according to its former President of Entertainment Dawn Ostroff, “appeal to people 18 to 34-years-old”.


Programming available to Netflix members will include the eight dramas on The CW’s Fall 2011 schedule, including new series Ringer, Hart of Dixie and The Secret Circle; returning hits The Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl, 90210, Supernatural, Nikita and mid-season series, One Tree Hill.


“This is a forward-thinking agreement for a network whose programming occupies a unique space in the content marketplace,” claimed Leslie Moonves, President and Chief Executive Officer, CBS Corporation. “It is a model that opens a new door for The CW programming to expand its audience reach … and creates a brand-new window for CBS and Warner Bros. to be paid for the content we supply the network. It also further illustrates how new distribution systems are providing premium content suppliers with additive revenue streams while still preserving traditional monetisation windows.”


“This proves once again the overriding importance of content in our business, while showing how emerging platforms such as Netflix are adding value to the traditional TV ecosystem,” said Barry Meyer, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. “And to open a new window like this for our television product strengthens the increasing value of our powerful, deep and growing portfolio.” Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix, characterised the deal as “programming for the on-demand generation”.


Bruce Rosenblum, President, Warner Bros. Television Group and Office of the President, said the agreement was a clear example of why content creators and providers “can and will grow stronger through technology partnerships tailored to the consumer,” noting that it extended traditional syndication windows with a strong, additive revenue play perfect for serialised dramas.





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