Can Arrow, Supernatural, and Their Spin-offs Lift The CW?

Time has come for "the other" network to prove itself at upfronts. Will its two hit shows be enough?

May 1, 2014 at 8:24AM

The CW Network, a joint venture between Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) and CBS (NYSE:CBS), is often referred to as "the other" broadcast network. The network skews younger than its established rivals like Fox, NBC, ABC, and CBS, and also programs just 10 hours of primetime each week as compared to The Big Four's roughly 22 each.

It's no wonder, then, that the big networks trump CW in upfront sales. Take a look at the estimated sales results from 2013:


Total Sales











Source: Variety.  Dollar figures are in billions.

It's worth noting that while CW's 2013 ad sales were more or less in line with its numbers from 2012, the network was able to demand 5%-6% increases in CPM, or the cost of reaching 1,000 audience members .

Why were advertisers confident that CW could deliver? For one, the network is ahead of the curve in some respects because it has sold digital space as well as traditional television spots at upfronts since 2012 .

Additionally, the 2012-2013 season saw the network expanding from its stereotypical young-female audience into a broader market with shows like Arrow.

Here are the average prices of a 30-second spot in some of the CW's programs in 2013:


Cost per 30-Second Ad





The Originals


Hart of Dixie


The Carrie Diaries


Source: AdWeek 

Arrow was clearly carrying the team in 2013, but ratings could help boost ad sales for some of these other shows this year.

So how are the ratings?
It was a promising fall season for the CW. In November, Arrow reached a series high in the 18-49 demo with a 1.2/3, with total viewers at 3.09 million .

Also, freshman series The 100 had a solid premiere, with a 0.9 rating in adults 18-49 . Another new series, The Originals, combined with fan favorite Supernatural to give the network its highest rated Tuesday in more than four years this November. That night, The Originals pulled in 2.4 million viewers and Supernatural added 2.36 million . This is exactly the type of performance that CW wants to showcase to advertisers.

What's next?
The network's next task is to give advertisers the confidence that new programming can keep ratings on the upswing. It's no wonder then, that two of the pilots in contention for a series order are spin-offs. Flash, a spin-off of Arrow, is about the early days of DC Comic's scientist Barry Allen as he becomes the Fastest Man Alive. The pilot for Bloodlines will actually air as an episode of its mother-series, Supernatural later this season .

The network has a second DC Comic, iZombie from top producers Greg Berlanti (Everwood, Jack & Bobby) and Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars, Party Down). The project follows a zombie medical student who inherits the memories from the brains she must eat . The producers certainly have the experience and know-how to make this property a cult-classic.

Heading in to upfronts
This year, the CW will also have some help from parent company CBS at upfront sales. The networks will still set their own prices, but have agreed to collaborate more on viewership research and share resources that could promote sales for each other . This could lead to better sales results for both networks at upfronts.

We won't see CW overtaking the Big Four networks in commercial revenue any time soon, but the young network's performance certainly merits watching. As its audience gets broader and buzz continues to grow around its comics-based properties, The CW could prove to be a spark on the balance sheets of its parent companies.

The biggest thing to come out of Silicon Valley in years
If you thought the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad were amazing, just wait until you see this. One hundred of Apple's top engineers are busy building one in a secret lab. And an ABI Research report predicts 485 million of them could be sold over the next decade. But you can invest in it right now... for just a fraction of the price of AAPL stock. Click here to get the full story in this eye-opening new report.

Aimee Duffy has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information