As reliably happens every few years in the current age of on-demand programming, another new streaming deal is set to be signed, this time involving The CW and Netflix. Unfortunately, this particular agreement is a decidedly good news/bad news scenario, depending on which specific service one subscribes to. Coming out on the winning end this time are Netflix users, while Hulu users — especially those who have “cut the cord” from traditional cable — are set to find themselves getting the short end of the stick.
Netflix and The CW are nearing a deal that will bring the most recent seasons of CW shows, such as Arrow, The Flash, and Supernatural, to the world’s leading streaming service less than two weeks after that season’s finale airs on TV. This is a significant change from the current agreement between the two parties, which sees the most recent seasons arriving on Netflix shortly before a new season is set to premiere. While exact financial details of the deal have yet to be publicly revealed, it is expected to last for five years, it only covers domestic streaming rights, and is speculated to be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 billion.
While that’s certainly great news for Netflix subscribers, those who rely on Hulu to stream in-season CW shows as they air will soon be out of luck. According to Variety, the existing pact between the two parties — which grants Hulu subscribers next-day streaming access to the five most recently aired episodes of CW shows — is set to expire in October, and will not be renewed. This will be a blow to cord cutters going forward, as the only place to stream in-season CW episodes will be The CW’s official website and app, both of which include lengthy ad breaks. Those who prefer to watch their favorite shows on their HDTV will also be left out in the cold, as The CW app is only currently available for mobile devices and computers. This is a big change from Hulu’s app, which is available on nearly every possible game console and HDMI-connected streaming device.
With Hulu’s major claim to fame long being in-season access to shows from four of the five broadcast networks and select cable channels, one might wonder why they didn’t fight harder to retain CW content. Apparently the biggest sticking point between Hulu and The CW was the limitation of only allowing five episodes to be streamed at any given time, which has reportedly led to many complaints from fans about why they can’t use Hulu to catch up on past episodes they might have missed. Hulu wanted a new pact to include “stacking rights” to the entire current season of CW shows, which resulted in an impasse during negotiations.
Here’s hoping this isn’t just the beginning of networks restricting their content to their own streaming platforms. Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before the number of services you have to subscribe to in order to watch all your favorite shows ends up outweighing the savings of ditching a traditional cable subscription.
Screen Rant will have more details on The CW and Netflix deal as it is made available.