The CW Not Renewing Deal With Netflix

With three new, high-profile pilots coming to The CW this fall, the network will not be renewing [...]

With three new, high-profile pilots coming to The CW this fall, the network will not be renewing its current output deal with Netflix and will instead be shopping new series to streaming services individually, according to Deadline. That means that Batwoman, Katy Keene, and Nancy Drew could find another home for streaming -- or may have to wait until Warner Interactive has its planned streaming service in place to see official announcements. The broader deals make things easy for consumers -- who can generally know where to look and when for new series coming to streaming platforms -- but a mixed bag for networks.

Netflix has certainly benefited from the massive success of Riverdale on streaming services, making its upcoming spinoff, Katy Keene, an attractive piece of IP. The CW has likewise probably got the better end of the deal when it comes to more modest ratings successes like iZombie and Dynasty, which can earn additional seasons by performing solidly on streaming. With the streaming market diversifying, most studios launching their own, stand-alone apps, and Netflix increasingly being seen as "The Competition" becuase of their focus on original programming, moves to loosen the hold Netflix has on networks and studios are likely inevitable in the next couple of years.

The CW, which is jointly owned by Warner Bros. and CBS, will apparently take a reduced role in shopping shows to streaming services. According to the Deadline story, Warner Bros. TV and CBS will be responsible for finding their shows a home. Interestingly, of the three big shows launching in the fall, there is one owned by Warner (Batwoman), one owned by CBS (Nancy Drew), and one that is owned by Warner but produced with financial participation by CBS (Katy Keene). That means watching where each of the three end up could give fans a quick glance at the way streaming rights are likely to be handled in the near future. The original Netflix deal brought in $1 billion for The CW in 2011, and was renewed in 2016 with slightly changed terms.

The article did not suggest what would happen internationally, where Netflix is the initial broadcaster of series like Riverdale. Existing deals for series that launched prior to 2019 will remain unchanged for now. The Deadline story also suggests that WarnerMedia's app is the most likely destination for Batwoman, while Netflix will likely land Katy Keene. The future of Nancy Drew is a question mark and may depend on how much competition there is for the title.


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