The CW has an interesting model where it uses shows like Arrow and The Flash to support oddball stuff more popular on streaming than on the air, like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and The 100. And in a reflection of just how important streaming is, they’re getting a huge amount of money from Netflix for their shows, as well as the rights to stream them earlier.
To this point, the CW’s shows have popped up on Hulu with the last five available to watch, and full seasons show up on Netflix generally right before the CW begins rolling out its fall debuts. According to Variety, Netflix and the CW have cut a deal where the streaming service will get whole seasons less than two weeks after the on-air finale. How much is having faster access to Legends Of Tomorrow and Supergirl worth to Netflix? Try at least $1 billion. The presence of long-running cult shows like Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries surely helps matters for Netflix, which makes a big chunk of its money off niche programming.
The loser in all this is Hulu, which apparently had been pushing the CW to put entire seasons of its shows up on the service, and supposedly wanted to focus more on The Flash and Arrow. The CW will still be making shows available to stream on its website on a “rolling-five” basis, so you’ll still be able to catch them in the mornings instead of working. You’ll just need to go to a different website that, not coincidentally, lets the CW keep all the ad revenue. Hey, Ollie’s gold arrowheads aren’t cheap.