Tuesday, June 6, 2023

CW changes, but does it matter?

CW is changing how it negotiates deals with streaming services. Well, maybe. There is a change, but the change might not lead to a change. Let me explain. Or try. It's can be confusing.

Currently, CW stations negotiate with streaming services at the network level. That is, your local CW affiliate goes along with whatever CW negotiates. They don't have an option. If they are a CW affiliate, they are part of the deal. That's what's changing.

According to reports, CW will allow local stations to opt out of the network negotiations and cut deals themselves. For larger companies that own CW stations, they may do just that. For smaller ones, they may continue to let the network handle the negotiations.

"We, as the owner of The CW, are constructing a new affiliation agreement template that is going to allow affiliates to opt-out of The CW deal with the virtual MVPD and cut their own deal -- or they can opt in to the deal that we have already established for them. But larger companies are going to opt out, because they have other business to do with the virtual MVPDs. The smaller companies are going to say I can't do as well on my own -- going back to the comment I made earlier about distribution -- negotiations are all about scale and leverage," Sook said of the change coming for CW affiliates.

"We can't advocate for this and then put our network hat on and say, not so fast. Will other networks follow The CW's lead? We are hopeful," the Nexstar CEO told the investor conference.

So will this make a difference? For some people, it will. For others, it won't. But for those that opt out of network negotiations and handle it themselves, it could be a return to the days of your local station not being available on a service, just as in the cable TV days. Remember the old days of a scroll across the bottom of the screen saying you may lose the channel soon if you don't call a number and tell them to keep the channel? Welcome back to those fun days.

My Streaming Life doesn't involve a lot of CW, although I do have the app on my devices, and will watch on occasion. I don't use YouTube TV, Hulu+Live TV, or any other service that carries local channels. This won't impact me. I hope it doesn't impact you.

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