The CW Declines to Renew Netflix Deal; Shows Will Now Be Shopped Individually

     May 15, 2019


The lucrative pact between The CW and Netflix is no more. The network previously struck a deal with the streaming service in 2011 that would find The CW shows like Arrow, The Flash, and eventually Riverdale landing automatically on Netflix once their seasons ended, but with the deal up for renegotiation this spring, The CW declined to renew it.

Per Deadline, The CW will be shopping its new shows individually to the various streaming homes. That doesn’t mean these series won’t still end up on Netflix, but Netflix will now have to bid against competitors to land any new series from The CW. Netflix will continue getting new seasons of shows they already have, which includes Riverdale, Flash, and Dynasty, and past seasons of CW series that premiered through the current 2018-2019 season will continue to stream on Netflix during the broadcast life of the series and beyond.


Image via The CW

What this development pertains to is new shows airing on The CW after the 2018-2019 season, in which case the network will be shopping the streaming rights to Netflix as well as other competitors. That includes the Batwoman series starring Ruby Rose, the Nancy Drew show, and the Riverdale spinoff Katy Keen. Of note: Batwoman is owned by Warner Bros. TV and could end up on the WarnerMedia streaming service that’s expected to debut early next year.

The CW benefitted from this Netflix deal in years past, as the network routinely saw ratings for its shows rise after they went to Netflix. Viewers could get caught up on past seasons on the streaming service and then catch the new season in the fall, as happened with Riverdale. The pact was unique in that the full season of a CW show would debut on Netflix eight days after its season finale.

But most saw this coming. When Disney announced plans to launch its own streaming service Disney+, it ended its contract with Netflix that saw a variety of new Disney films landing on the streaming service. Starting with Captain Marvel, all new Disney movies will debut on Disney+, and once their current deal expires you can expect films like Avengers: Infinity War and Mulan to move there as well.

Likewise, NBCUniversal is expected to take back The Office and Friends from Netflix once those licenses expire, but while this game of “I’m taking my ball and going home” may sound great to the individual companies launching streaming services, content is about to be stretched so thin that there’s no way a consumer can afford all the various services.

As for Netflix, they’re really gonna have to start creating more rewatchable content. Shows like Mindhunter and GLOW are great, but they don’t really lend themselves to the same comfort-viewing as something like The Office. At least CW fans can rest easy that the network’s current favorites like Riverdale and Legends of Tomorrow are staying put.