There’s been little good news for Netflix in the months since it first announced its universally hated fee hike and (later abandoned) DVD and streaming split. But the company is continuing to build its streaming offerings in hopes of attracting new—and younger—subscribers.
On Thursday, Neftflix announced that it had signed a $1 billion deal with CBS and Time Warner to stream shows from the CW, which could be available as early as Oct. 15. According to the agreement, which will stay in effect for at least the next eight years, Netflix has the rights to stream all episodes of any show currently airing on the CW, plus any programs that debut before the fall of 2015. However, Netflix will have to wait until after a season has ended to stream those episodes, and it won’t be getting any past shows like Gilmore Girls.
Netflix will pay between $150,000 and $700,000 per show, depending on factors including the program’s popularity and how long it’s been on the air—meaning that series like Gossip Girl, which premiered in 2007, would command a higher price than other CW shows.
According to The New York Times, which spoke with Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, CBS and Time Warner decided to pursue an on-demand deal for the CW’s shows because of the network’s appeal to younger viewers, who prefer to stream shows on their laptops or iPads rather than watch them on live TV. Bewkes also saw streaming services like Netflix as the best way to make money off of serialized dramas like the CW’s, which wouldn’t work well in traditional syndication. But the companies would still have the right to shop any CW shows around for syndication deals while the Netflix agreement is still in effect, he said.
When asked by the Times whether Netflix had rushed the CW deal to distract from its recent bad press, a spokesman for the streaming company denied the connection, saying, “These deals take a long time to consummate.”