Rick Haskins Named Streaming Head at The CW

Rick Haskins - Publicity - H 2020
Courtesy The CW

The CW has upped longtime marketing chief Rick Haskins to the newly created post of president of streaming and chief branding officer. The network becomes the first broadcaster to designate a president for streaming.

In his new post, Haskins will set the strategic vision and oversee distribution of The CW's streaming platforms and lead development, production and acquisitions of original programming for the ad-supported CW Seed and other platforms. He also will continue to oversee the network's marketing and branding efforts.

"Rick is one of the best marketers and digital strategists in the business and has helped establish The CW as one of the preeminent entertainment brands,” The CW chairman and CEO Mark Pedowitz said Wednesday in a statement. "For more than a decade, under Rick’s leadership, The CW has created and continues to evolve a unique, vibrant ecosystem that aligns our linear broadcast and streaming platforms and allows us to harness social media in a way that is unmatched in the industry. The growth of CW Seed that Rick has developed and nurtured from an incubator to what is now a robust streaming service will add to the strength of our brand position."

Haskins' promotion comes after The CW ended a long-term output deal with Netflix. Starting with this season's first-year series Batwoman, Nancy Drew and Katy Keene, the network has full in-season streaming rights to its shows, where in the past it only had a "rolling five" — the five most recent episodes to air on linear TV. (Netflix continues to have rights to veteran CW shows, including Supernatural, The Flash and Katy Keene's parent show, Riverdale.)

As part of the new deal, The CW's free and ad-supported digital platforms — CWTV.com, The CW App and CW Seed — will have rights to stream all episodes of the three rookie shows until 30 days before the start of the next season. After that point, The CW will have a rolling five episodes of its new shows on its streaming platforms until the following season's episodes become available.

The strategy emerged as The CW parents CBS TV Studios and Warner Bros. TV have taken back rights to stream full seasons of new series on their respective SVOD platforms, CBS All Access and HBO Max. CBS All Access announced last week that it had secured streaming rights to CBS TV Studios-produced Nancy Drew, while HBO Max will be the new full-season streaming home of WB-produced Batwoman and Katy Keene.

Haskins oversaw the launch of The CW's digital studio in 2012, which rebranded as CW Seed a year later. The service features a mix of original programming; library titles from The CW's two owners, including Girlfriends, Everybody Hates Chris and Hellcats; and 14 series from BBC Studios, including the original House of Cards. The network is set to launch CW Seed Live, a linear streaming channel with programming from CW Seed, People and Entertainment Weekly, in the spring.

Haskins, who worked at Lifetime and Disney and ran his own marketing firm prior to joining The CW, was named one of The Hollywood Reporter's Top 25 Marketing Masterminds of 2019.