Netflix audiences around the world are shaking at the latest news: The streaming service and the US network The CW have opted not to renew their current licencing agreement, as Deadline reports.
The CW and Netflix have a long-standing relationship, and the current licencing agreement has (in some shape or form) been in place since 2011, the year that many will remember as the dark times before the superhero shows redefined the network. The deal helped bring The CW’s content across millions of homes worldwide and clearly was a saving grace in what could have been a financially difficult time for the young network.
The deal had been renewed in 2016, arguably one of the strongest years The CW has had in its rather brief existence. Since then the agreement has included a policy on new seasons being available on the streaming service just eight days after finishing their on-air run on the network in the US.
In the UK this agreement has also included making new episodes of some of their programs available to view via Netflix just a day after they originally aired in the US. This mostly applied to those owned and produced by CBS Studios, such as Jane The Virgin or Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
But Netflix’s relationship with The CW goes beyond that, as the streamer snagged exclusive international first-run rights to Riverdale, and has completely taken over its spin-off The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
What this means for your favorite CW shows (at least in the US) is that those which premiered during the 2018-19 television season will continue to stream on Netflix through their lifetime, as well as shows like Riverdale, The Flash and Dynasty, for which Netflix has already purchased streaming rights.
But for new CW shows premiering this upcoming season this means that Netflix will have to join the bidding war for each individual series. This includes titles such as Batwoman, Nancy Drew, and yes, another Riverdale spin-off, Katy Keene.
The end of the licencing agreement between Netflix and The CW comes at a time where every major studio is looking to join the direct-to-customer business by developing their own streaming services.
This also comes off the back of Disney not renewing their licencing agreement with the streamer, and NBCUniversal announcing they are looking to bring The Office, the most-streamed series on Netflix, and Friends (another audience-favorite) to their own streaming service after their licence expires in 2021.