In a statement that has proven unpopular with consumers and popular with cable providers, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes told investors during a conference call this week that the company is mulling the idea of extending the window between when DC Entertainment's TV shows first air and when they make their way to subscription streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
The New York Times says that he indicated the move could push episodes to make their way to the streaming services "several years after they first air, rather than one year later," and that cable On Demand services could then keep more episodes in their libraries, theoretically increasing the value of a traditional cable package.
In broad terms, that would seemingly be a move to appeal to an older audience.
There is no indication that pay-to-own services like Amazon, Vudu and iTunes -- who allow viewers to purchase individual episodes and "season passes" of shows and then own them as they air -- would be targeted.
This season The CW -- partially owned by Time Warner -- has been releasing and promoting new episodes on their website a few hours earlier and more aggressively than in the past, while anecdotal customer experiences -- including this writer's -- indicates that sites like Vudu and Amazon appear to be getting the episodes a few hours later.
Analysts are claiming that this is not profit-motivated as much as it is a response to the growing power of Netflix in the industry. The streaming video provider recently had a seat at the table during FCC hearings into a proposed Time Warner Cable/Charter merger, where Netflix encouraged the FCC to allow the merger.
While stories on the comment have generally noted that there are a number of DC shows currently or soon-to-be on the air, including Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl, it's likely those series already have some kind of deal in place and it would be some time before terms could be renegotiated. If Warner were to move forward on these plans, the decision would more likely impact shows like DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Lucifer and Krypton, which are in development or have not yet premiered.