7:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Hulu Lands Streaming Rights to CBS' 'CSI'
While the future of CBS' CSI: Crime Scene Investigation beyond this season remains in question, the series' vast library is heading to a new home online for the first time.
Hulu has acquired the exclusive subscription video-on-demand rights to all previous seasons of the veteran procedural, the company announced on Thursday.
Under the multiyear pact, CSI will be available to stream online starting in early April on Hulu with a Plus subscription. Subscribers will have access to more than 300 episodes as well as full libraries of previous seasons ahead of the future series premieres.
The deal marks the first time CSI has ever been licensed to an SVOD service and comes after CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves previewed the lucrative deal during the company's earnings call that the CBS Television Studios drama represented an extension of the company's evolving strategy in terms of "how we monetize our content."
"CSI is already a multibillion-dollar franchise and new streaming deals will only add to that," he said at the time. "Going forward we have the whole NCIS catalog in our arsenal to sell, and discussions are already underway to license that show later this year."
CSI — which held the title of most watched show in the world five times — has spawned three spinoffs including CBS' upcoming CSI: Cyber — as well as books, video games and an interactive exhibit.
"CSI is one of the most popular television franchises in the world and we could not be more thrilled make all episodes available on Hulu,” said Craig Erwich, senior vp and head of content at Hulu. “This deal not only represents a huge growth in our offering of premium content, but it also represents an expansion in our partnership with CBS. We look forward to working with CBS to continue making some of the best shows on television available for viewers to stream on more screens in the future.”
Added Scott Koondel, chief corporate content licensing officer at CBS Corp.: "This agreement and previous deals with our partners at Hulu further validates how well CBS procedural dramas perform on subscription services. And, at a time when the CBS Television Network is getting ready to premiere the next generation of the CSI franchise with CSI: Cyber, it’s very exciting to make available all 14 seasons of the show that started it all to Hulu subscribers and CSI’s passionate fan base."
Netflix already offers the full catalogs for spinoffs CSI: New York and CSI: Miami. Amazon, meanwhile, offers CSI on VOD and has established a strong relationship with CBS for shows including dramas Under the Dome and Extant, which help offset the costs of the pricey summer fare. Hulu, too, offers CSI: Miami as part of its extensive library deal with CBS.