CW’s Enhanced Digital Rights Could Help Net Secure New Affiliate Agreements with Nexstar and Other Top Station Groups – Deadline

Five years ago, it was all over the edge when The CW finally struck a new five-year affiliation agreement with its largest station group, Tribune, in May 2016. Five years later, the network is in talks with Nexstar, which acquired Tribune a 2019 and its other major affiliate groups. The network doesn’t seem to be coming close to a deal with any of them, but talks are thought to be going well, I hear.

CW President and CEO Mark Pedowitz declined to discuss the status of renewal negotiations with major affiliates beyond saying “we provide them great value and I think they would recognize it. . A representative for Nexstar also declined to comment.

The CW currently offers its affiliates close to 1,000 hours of programming per year at a relatively low cost, from what I hear.

With all new CW series currently HBO Max-Bound, Steamer & Net Forge Ties that go beyond library content

The network’s production has grown since the last renewals with Tribune and the other majors were signed on as The CW added a new evening of original programming on Sunday and has continued to grow its original summer roster.

The CW was one of only two broadcast networks to offer pandemic-proof fall programming that included scripted acquisitions, unscripted rates, and the latest episodes of Supernatural. The move ensured that the network would have a full lineup of first-run (for The CW) programming on Day 1 of the season in September. The decision was made in part with affiliates in mind, Pedowitz said.

“Digitally it was a huge success, linear, we did what we were supposed to do which is keep the lights on, providing new programming to affiliates and advertisers,” he told About the CW’s fall performance, which was modest in linear ratings but strong on digital.

CW’s growing digital operation is expected to play a key role in securing new affiliate agreements as their value locally has increased, especially with the new ASTC rules. CW’s digital footprint is much larger than it was five years ago, when the Netflix release deal only allowed the last five episodes of the network’s shows to be shown on its digital platforms. Since providers CW Warner Bros. Studio and CBS Studios terminated this deal in 2019, the network has had full in-season stacking rights. This has been a big draw for CW fans as Affiliates can take advantage of it with local commercials they get on these AVOD episodes.

While sources familiar with the situation expect new affiliation agreements to be made, the current economic uncertainty in the country amid the ongoing pandemic has everyone on the alert. So, just like they did five years ago, I hear that CW and its parent companies Warner Bros. and ViacomCBS have contingency plans in the event a bunch of stations drop the network.

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