Two weeks after making a billion-dollar deal to stream programming from past seasons on Netflix, The CW has signed a deal to put current episodes on Hulu and Hulu Plus.
Under the five-year licensing agreement, the five most recent episodes of The CW's series will be available to Hulu Plus subscribers the day after broadcast. Users of the free basic Hulu online service will be able to watch five episodes of current CW programming eight days after they appear on the broadcast network.
Many young viewers of the CW are already watching shows online on the network's own website. Many CW advertisers buy packages that include commercials that air when shows air on TV as well as online. The CW's serialized dramas are the type of shows that seem to lend themselves better to online streaming rather than to traditional syndication.
Financial terms of the deal were not released. The CW is owned by CBS and Time Warner. Hulu is a joint venture whose parents including Disney, News Corp. and Comcast-controlled NBCUniversal. Hulu's owners recently explored a sale of the streaming site, but ultimately decided to retain control.
"Our new arrangement with Hulu only affirms the incredible value of The CW's series, as well as amplifying the immense power of the broadcast network model," Mark Pedowitz, president of The CW, said in a statement.
"As we increase the amount of year round original programming on The CW, this deal provides our shows with greater exposure on a new platform, helping build even more awareness that will drive viewers back to the network and its affiliates. We see this as a win for everyone involved, the network, the stations, Hulu and ultimately, the viewers."
"The CW programming is a great example of the kind of in-season content we want to make available on our service - high-quality, engaging, serialized shows that fans passionately love," said Andy Forssell, SVP of content for Hulu. "Making these shows available on Hulu and Hulu Plus will allow new and existing fans to get their fix of The CW's great shows anytime and anywhere."
Forssell talks on his blog about how the Hulu is trying to differentiate itself from its streaming competition with more current-season shows