Netflix nears a deal with the CW to make its shows available for binge-watching sooner

Barry "The Flash" Allen (Grant Gustin, left) and parallel-Earth villain Zoom (Teddy Sears) in the second season finale of "The Flash," a show on the CW.
(The CW)

Fans of CW shows such as “The Flash” and “Jane the Virgin” who choose to wait until the full season is over to binge-watch them on Netflix may not have to wait as long.

Netflix is nearing a renewal of its streaming deal with the CW that would greatly condense the window of when episodes become available on the streaming service, The Times confirmed.

The original 2011 deal, which was set to expire this year, saw seasons of shows hit Netflix months after they ended, typically ahead of the premiere of a new season. This time around, Netflix has sped up how quickly episodes become available to less than two weeks after each season ends on the network, according to a source familiar with negotiations.

The deal is expected to run an additional five years and would give the streaming company domestic rights to the shows for several years after they end.


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The CW and Netflix declined to comment.

The small television network, owned by CBS and Warner Bros., lost money for years until 2011, when it struck a four-year, $1-billion deal to provide its programming to Netflix.

The extension with Netflix comes just as the CW is ending its relationship with Netflix rival Hulu.


The CW’s deal with Hulu, which was also secured in 2011, made Hulu the only online subscription service to offer next-day access to the most recent five episodes of current CW series. But negotiations to renew the pact, which is set to expire in October, stalled, according to another source familiar with the talks.

The Santa Monica streaming service, a joint venture of major TV network owners 21st Century Fox, Walt Disney Co. and Comcast’s NBCUniversal, wanted the ability to offer viewers the full season of shows to date. Hulu was also dissatisfied by the limited terms, which would bar episodes from appearing on Hulu’s ad-free subscription tier, and also felt the pricing did not match the performance of some of the CW’s low-performing shows.

Hulu declined to comment.

While viewers will lose the ability to stream in-season CW programming on Hulu this fall, they can still access episodes through ad-supported and the network’s app, as well as its affiliate stations’ video-on-demand deals.


The changes to the CW’s streaming deals come on the heels of the network signing a five-year affiliate deal with Tribune Broadcasting to keep programming, which also includes “Supernatural” and CBS-jumping “Supergirl,” on 12 Tribune-owned stations including KTLA in Los Angeles.

Tribune Broadcasting is unaffiliated with Tribune Publishing, owner of the Los Angeles Times.

Twitter: @villarrealy



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