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‘The CW’ Outlines its New Catch-Up Strategy

Earlier this summer the US Broadcast Network ‘The CW’ announced its decision to not renew the existing licensing deal with Netflix, which sees all series move to the streaming platform 8 days after the season finale. Under this agreement ‘The CW’ could only offer episodes with a rolling 5 catch-up on its AVOD platform. Netflix hold the rights for series to have previously aired on ‘The CW’ and will continue to do so for all returning series seasons. From next month all new series will be offered to viewers with full in-season stacking - this being where all episodes remain available in the OTT space following its initial linear broadcast.

‘The CW’ digital service has always allowed viewers to watch shows for free without requiring a subscription, login or authentication. The improved offering of full in-season stacking gives viewers more flexibility in when they can come into a series and can potentially help increase the audience reach by giving new viewers the opportunity to go back and start from the beginning.

Three upcoming series will fit into this new model, ‘Batwoman’ and ‘Nancy Drew’ are both set to premiere in October with ‘Katy Keene’ at a later date still to be announced. Episodes from these new series will be stacked on the AVOD service and will remain there until 30 days before any upcoming new season when it will then move to its long term 2nd window home, with ‘Batwoman’ and ‘Katy Keene’ reverting to WarnerMedia’s ‘HBO Max’, and ‘Nancy Drew’ to ‘CBS All Access’.

This new domestic strategy for ‘The CW’ does not affect international sales. Currently the shows distributed by co-owners Warner and CBS are sold to a variety of Free, Pay TV Channels and SVOD services in global markets, and in turn each with a mix of catch-up rights. For now Warner and CBS have not made public their intentions for their SVOD services outside of North America and so will continue to distribute shows to a wide array of destinations.

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