“According to Bloomberg, CBS and Time Warner, the co-owners of The CW, are considering launching a standalone streaming service for the genre-heavy network, and if they do they will likely pull The CW’s shows from Netflix and Hulu (or, to be more accurate, allow their current contracts with those outlets to expire) in order to build up demand for their own service.

This sucks! This is total b.s.!  This…

Will reportedly cost as little as between two and four dollars a month, and, similar to CBS All Access, provide a live feed as well as a library of on-demand shows.”

Hi, I’m Kelly Konda. You might remember me from such articles as “CW Shows Might Soon Leave Netflix & Hulu Because Every Network Will Inevitably Have Its Own Streaming Service” or “Will Time Warner Tear Down Hulu from the Inside?” In fact, the above couple of paragraphs are quoted from “CW Shows Might Soon Leave…,” which I wrote this past January.

In the time since then, Netflix paid a gajillion dollars (okay, it was only a billion, but everything Netflix does now feels like they’re throwing around made-up Monopoly money) for a new five-year contract with The CW which will bring full seasons of shows to the streamer mere weeks, as opposed to months, after they’ve aired in full. Hulu, meanwhile, sought a new deal which would bring an end to the “only the five most recent episodes” bullshit. Instead, Hulu reportedly “pushed for a deal that would include all in-season episodes, an example of ‘stacking’ rights that would likely have cost the CW its Netflix-library deal entirely.” The CW made the finger motion which means the money, and Hulu meekly retorted, “You realize that as a company we just barely eke out a pofit, right? If Netflix is offering you a billion you should take it because we sure as shit can’t match it.”

Or at least I assume that’s how it went down. I wasn’t exactly in the room [wait for it, Hamilton fans] where it happened.

End result: Hulu is now sans-Arrow, Flash, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The 100, Jane the Virgin…you get the point. Hulu no longer has any CW shows. But, contrary to what was assumed back in January, The CW has not rushed forward with its own subscription streaming service. Instead, the network has done something totally unexpected: It’s offering all of its shows for free through The CW app on Roku, Chromecast, AirPlay, Apple TV, XBox and Amazon Fire TV.

Actually, The CW has sort of been doing this for years now. Those same “five most recent episodes” which were available on Hulu were always also available on The CW app or on CWTV.com. The problem was you had to be a cable subscriber to watch them, and the app wasn’t necessarily widely available outside of Android and ios devices. However, Variety now reports:

The CW launched a new channel on Roku Tuesday that doesn’t turn away cord cutters: The network’s new Roku app doesn’t require users to create an account, or authenticate with their pay TV credentials. Instead, it simply serves up the most recent five episodes of shows like “Jane the Virgin,” “Supergirl” and “Crazy Ex Girlfriend” to anyone and everyone.

By making these episodes available for free and without any kind of registration, the CW is bucking a trend towards paid and authenticated streaming apps. Networks like ABC and FX require users to authenticate with their pay TV operator account information in order to stream recent episodes on Roku and other connected TV platforms.

This now puts the onus on the CW to monetize those episodes on its own while the current season is still on air. As a result, it is looking to reach the biggest number of eyeballs, which means not using any authentication schemes. In other words: In CW’s monetization model, cord cutters without access to a pay TV subscription are a welcome part of the mix.

Translation: even without Hulu, watching any of your favorite CW shows this season will be easier than you might have guessed, but you should probably expect plenty of commercial breaks which you can’t fast-forward through. If you want to be notified when this relaunched CW app will be available on your streaming service of choice head over here. As of right now, the supported devices will be Roku, Chromecast, AirPlay, Apple TV, XBox and Amazon Fire TV. No mention of Playstation.


Posted by Kelly Konda

Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

One Comment

  1. […] day ratings but strong enough DVR, On Demand and streaming (Hulu, CW website) numbers. And, yes, by taking the billions from Netflix to put full seasons of their shows on the service mere week…. What matters more now is that these shows all make full seasons so the network can deliver the […]


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