What’s that, you say? You missed this week’s episodes of Gossip Girl, Arrow and Nikita, and you don’t have access to the Internet to be able to stream them online? Well, if you’re a Comcast subscriber, help is on the way as the CW finally takes the plunge and signs the first On Demand deal with a carrier in the channel’s six year history.
Quite why the CW has waited this long to offer shows On Demand isn’t entirely clear; it’s not as if the network has been withholding content across the board in order to drive up ratings (The CW is consistently the lowest-rated of the broadcast networks, but given that it has a far shorter broadcast window – essentially, only prime time hours during the week – that’s somewhat understandable), as episodes of its series are available on Hulu as well as past seasons being available in full on Netflix’s Watch Instantly program. Nonetheless, the deal announced today between the channel and Comcast is the first time that any CW show has been made available as a Video On Demand offering, coming years behind competitors Fox, CBS, ABC and NBC.
As part of the arrangement, the four most recent episodes of each CW series – including not only the three mentioned above, but also The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural and America‘s Next Top Model amongst others – will be made available through Comcast’s Xfininity on Demand service, with new episodes being added the day after their original airdate. The episodes will be made available at no additional charge to customers already receiving Xfinity on Demand according to today’s announcement. Comcast’s digital service is estimated at being available around 20 million homes in the US by the carrier, offering a potentially sizable new audience for the shows, should they be interested.
The CW’s Executive Vice President John D. Maataa is upbeat about the benefits of the deal, telling the Hollywood Reporter that “we’re very excited to partner with Comcast to offer our viewers another platform where they can watch their favorite CW shows… With our primetime series now available on Xfinity On Demand, The CW will continue to expand its reach as well as provide our advertisers an opportunity to deliver their message to even more viewers.” It’s an optimism matched by Comcast Senior VP Matt Strauss, who told the paper that his company’s subscribers “turn to Xfinity On Demand for the latest and most popular programs, and now we’re pleased to add The CW’s popular primetime lineup to our offerings,” adding that Comcast is “committed to giving customers access to the best and newest TV shows when they — want, at their fingertips.”
The agreement takes effect immediately, with episodes being added today.