The CW Network and Hulu appear to be in a friendlier place than they were around this time last year. The network, co-owned by CBS and Warner Bros., says today that “in the coming months” it will offer its live streams to subscribers of Hulu with Live TV. In addition, these subscribers will “soon” be able to watch episodes of current season series on-demand.
That’s a change from last year. Hulu — then just an on-demand service — wanted more than it was getting from its CW agreement, which only covered next-day access to the most recent “rolling five” episodes of CW series. CW stopped supplying its new programming, promoting instead the availability of recent episodes for streaming on the network’s own free app.
But the TV landscape looks a lot different now. YouTube TV launched in April with live streams from CW. Early this month CW agreed to provide them to AT&T’s DirecTV Now. Two weeks ago, FuboTV said that it would offer live streams from CBS-owned CW stations “soon.”
Today’s announcement does not say which markets will be able to receive the CW live streams. Availability typically requires the streaming service to reach a carriage agreement with local broadcast affiliates.
The CW EVP of Network Distribution Chris Brooks calls Hulu’s recently launched $39.99 a month live service “groundbreaking,” adding that the new partnership “furthers our goal of expanding our audience across digital platforms.”
And Hulu SVP Strategic Partnerships & Distribution Tim Connolly notes that The CW “has long attracted younger audiences to live TV, so we are very happy to offer the network through Hulu’s new live service.”
With the addition, Hulu’s live service will include ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and The CW.
CBS agreed in January to provide its live streams to the service, owned by Disney, Fox, Comcast’s NBCUniversal, and Time Warner.