One of the great opportunities for series with modest viewing numbers that don’t get a lot of early buzz is for fans to find them and catch up on streaming. Maybe you’ve heard The 100 is great, but you haven’t had a chance to watch it yet. Then one rainy weekend, you binge Season 1 and become obsessed. Intuitively, this should help viewership once the next season airs live, as more and more viewers continue to catch up.
But CBS and Warner Bros. aren’t convinced, since the viewing numbers for their jointly-owned network the CW are down to an average of 1.92 million from 2.2 million (of course, there are a lot of things that go into these numbers, and they don’t exactly spell disaster — live viewership has dropped dramatically across the board over the past several years). As such, according to Bloomberg, CBS is considering launching a CW streaming site once its current deals with Netflix (which airs past seasons) and Hulu (which airs current episodes) expires, which would affect The Flash, Arrow, The 100, and naturally the network’s entire catalogue of shows.
The question is whether or not Warner Bros. and CBS want to lose the licensing money they get from these other streaming services in order to build their own site (in the hopes of it turning into a more lucrative future), which insiders to the deal suggest could end up being $2-$4 a month for live feed and a back catalogue of shows. Another consideration are the local CW affiliates, who would be looking for compensation if a streaming service offered alternatives to live viewing in their markets.
Of course, all of this could just be a tactic to get Netflix and Hulu to pony up more money for the streaming rights, though it is true that more and more networks and cable channels are establishing their own online players, although most are still tied to cable packages (only a few, like HBO Now, truly stand alone).
Bloomberg notes that talks are still in very early stages, and while Netflix confirmed that their contract with the CW runs out soon, Hulu has not yet replied with a comment on the potential move. But what say you, readers? Would you pay for a web-based CW streaming service? Did you first come to any CW shows through Netflix, or watch the current seasons on Hulu?
Speaking of: The Flash, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, and The 100 all premiere with new episodes starts Tuesday, January 19th on the CW (just the channel – for now).