When we think of The CW these days, it’s usually in terms of capes and tights—not surprising, given how much of the network’s schedule is filled with the various superhero shows produced by Greg Berlanti and his wide array of collaborators and co-producers. (Also: The horny Archie show.) But now we’ll have to start thinking of it with a different descriptor: “For sale.”
That’s right folks: For the low, low prize of probably many millions of dollars, you might be able to get your hands on a slightly used 16-year-old TV network. THR reports today on a letter issued to CW employees by network CEO Mark Pedowitz, confirming rumors that the channel’s joint owners, ViacomCBS and Warner Media, are putting it up on the block.
(Some background context: The CW was founded back in 2006 out of the wreckage of Warner’s WB and Viacom’s UPN, with the two also-ran networks merging together to try the fill the gaps left in America’s heart by Homeboys In Outer Space. The network is owned jointly by the two companies, with each supposedly set to provide half its content; the arrival of Warner’s Berlanti stuff, and the fact that Viacom has mostly been offering up stuff like Dynasty and Charmed, has skewed that balance of late.)
The money logic behind the sale is kind of interesting, in so far as it’s another symptom of the breakdown of the old symbiotic relationships between networks and streamers. As an ad-driven network, The CW has never been especially profitable, typically lagging far behind the other four major networks in terms of ratings. But it found a niche for itself in recent years as a content provider, licensing shows like Arrow and The Flash to Netflix in deals that both a) generated cash and b) boosted the linear ratings for the Berlantiverse shows after Netflix viewing got new fans hooked.
But the rise of the Streaming Wars has taken a crowbar to the knee of that whole concept. With HBO Max and Paramount+ ever-hungry for content, it makes less sense to funnel shows to a company like Netflix, which is less a customer these days than a direct competitor. The Netflix deal that saw Riverdale featured as a major part of the streamer’s adopted content ended in 2019; it took a major chunk of The CW’s revenue with it when it went.
Hence: Fire sale!
Here’s Pedowitz talking to his staff, which, warning, serious business euphemism incoming:
First, as many of you are aware, over the past year or so, this transformative time in our industry has led to a series of business activity across media and content companies. Given that environment right now, ViacomCBS and Warner Bros. are exploring strategic opportunities to optimize the value of their joint venture in The CW Network.
The upshot of which is, well: The CW is for sale. THR notes that local TV network owner Nexstar, which already owns a ton of CW affiliates, is expected to make a strong play to try to acquire the network.Источник: Lifehacker