CW Streams Shows, Enters New Digital Arenas

PASADENA, CALIF.--Somewhat late to the Internet programming party, the CW announced that it is streaming seven of its shows, including "Veronica Mars" and "One Tree Hill," on www.cwtv.com. But it says it surpasses other networks in new digital arenas.

Dawn Ostroff, president of entertainment for The CW, says that the rush of starting the network meant that it has only now begun streaming its shows--long after most other networks.

The CW took an incredibly short time to launch--just nine months--she added. It needed that time to work on getting viewers to switch from UPN and WB, the predecessors of the CW. The CW required a major marketing effort to communicate to some 67% of UPN viewers and 28% of WB viewers that they had to switch to another station.

Other shows that are being streamed include "Beauty & The Geek," "Everybody Hates Chris," "Girlfriends," "All of Us" and "Supernatural."

In new digital areas, where its 18-34 viewers can be found, The CW says it's far ahead of other networks. For instance, CW and CBS Interactive said they would launch the first avatar-based game for mobile phones tied to a major TV show, "America's Next Top Model."

The game allows an avatar--a computer-generated model--to exist on mobile phones. Users can manipulate the avatar, adding different dresses, hairstyles, etc. CW and CBS Interactive struck the deal with a Hong Kong-based company called Artificial Life; it's the first of several to be developed for the network.

In addition, Rick Haskins, executive vice president of marketing and strategy for the CW, says that at the cwlab area on its www.cwtv.com site, users have produced and uploaded some 20,000 promotional videos. CW Web site users also sent some 500 videos to the net for a contest in which they explain why an episode of "One Tree Hill" should be shot in their hometown.

During last year's upfront, CW made a point of saying it would produce "content wraps"--three- to-six-minute mini-programs--for advertisers. Bill Morningstar, executive vice president of ad sales for the CW, says the wraps have had excellent results, with each one commanding 100% viewer retention rates.

Procter & Gamble's Herbal Essence aired a content wrap during the Sept. 20 season premiere of "America's Next Top Model." Online video game "Guitar Hero" made an appearance during a "Veronica Mars" episode last fall.

Regarding its upcoming series, CW announced that "Pussycat Dolls: The Search for The Next Doll" will take the "Veronica Mars" time slot for eight weeks starting on March 6.

The network's highest-rated show, "America's Next Top Model," will air its eighth edition starting Feb. 28. The CW also said it will add to its reality slate of shows with "Crowned," where mother-daughter teams will compete to win a beauty contest.

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