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The CW Network could launch a stand-alone streaming service, according to a report in Bloomberg.
The network’s owners, CBS and Warner Bros., are considering a paid streaming service as a way to generate more income from the network as output deals with Netflix and Hulu near their end, the report says. The service, which would offer live streams and on-demand viewing, could cost $2 or $4 a month, per Bloomberg.
The CW struck a four-year deal with Netflix in 2011 that was valued at nearly $1 billion. Since then, the streamer has offered previous seasons of a number of CW shows, including Jane the Virgin, Arrow and The Flash. The deal does not include new shows like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which is benefiting from a boost in attention following star Rachel Bloom’s Golden Globes win.
The network also struck a five-year deal with Hulu in 2011 that makes new episodes of CW shows available on the streamer the day after they air.
In addition, the CW is renegotiating its affiliate deal with Tribune, which was inked when the network was formed in 2006 and makes the network available in 13 markets, including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.
CW president Mark Pedowitz told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour Sunday that his network was “exploring many, many, many of our options, and there are many entities who are quite interested in the CW product.” He added that he and the CW’s corporate parents are exploring both internal and external distribution options and expect to have a new strategy within the next six to nine months.
Pedowitz also spoke about the effect Netflix can have on shows like Crazy Ex and Jane the Virgin, which is critically beloved but watched by few. The first season of Jane the Virgin recently became available on Netflix ahead of its second-season premiere.
CBS already operates the subscription streaming service All Access, which launched in 2014, that offers on-demand TV and live streams for $5.99 a month. CBS-owned Showtime offers on-demand viewing of The Affair, Homeland and Ray Donovan for $10.99 a month.
The CW ranks fifth among the broadcast networks and currently averages 1.9 million total viewers. But the network has managed to make noise with critics and, more recently, awards voters. Bloom’s Golden Globes win follows a win for Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez in the comedy actress category at last year’s ceremony.
A Warner Bros. spokesperson declined to comment. A spokesperson for CBS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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