×

CW Sinks Teeth Into Xbox With ‘Vampire Diaries’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Network will provide full-length episodes with next-day access, SmartGlass integration

Hit primetime series “The Vampire Diaries” will tee off an expanded presence for the CW on Xbox Live via a new app for the broadcaster on the Microsoft-owned gaming console.

The CW app launched Tuesday with full-length episodes of all CW programming that are available just 24 hours after their primetime berth–a first on Xbox without requiring subscribers provide proof of being pay-TV subscribers via password authentication.

“That’s a unique proposition for us in terms of app business models,” said Kathy Styponias, GM of media and entertainment group at Microsoft.

In addition, Microsoft’s second-screen software SmartGlass will integrate with the app to provide synchronized companion content to Thursday’s episode of “Diaries,” which will be a backdoor pilot for a spinoff titled “The Originals.” Only viewers watching the episode via CW’s Xbox app will be able to access extras that explore the series’ world from character biographies to a map of its New Orleans setting.

“We think it’s a great experience for a ‘Vampire Diaries’ fan and that you will see other SmartGlass experiences for more of our shows, like ‘Arrow,'” said Rick Haskins, exec veep of marketing and digital programs at CW.

The pact continues net’s aggressive bid to connect with younger viewers who may be more inclined to watch its programming on digital platforms than over the air, where the CW has struggled in the Nielsen ratings.

The CW app is already active on other platforms including iOs, Android and Windows 8. But with Xbox, the app will make its debut in the living room, where the console is the most highly penetrated offering among the many non-cable set-top boxes vying to be the go-to IP-delivered device.

For Microsoft, providing an exclusive experience surrounding TV content builds up the value of Xbox, which has become just as much a video distribution point as it is a gaming platform. There’s 116 apps delivering video on Xbox Live and thousands of programs that have used SmartGlass, which has done some series-specific content including HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

The CW is not the first broadcaster to get its own app on Xbox Live. Fox made full-length episodes available in its own Xbox app beginning last September, but access requires authentication from participating pay-TV providers Dish and Verizon Fios.

In addition to next-day access to CW series, the app will also make accessible the four most recent episodes.

More Digital

  • Illustration of the video streaming company

    Netflix Insists It Won't Move Into Selling Advertising

    Netflix wants you to know: It doesn’t have any plans now or in the future to start running commercials on its streaming service. Company execs have have regularly explained that being ad-free is a core part of Netflix’s attractiveness to consumers, and the strategy has been a standard part of its “Long-Term View” mission statement [...]

  • MODEL RELEASED Hand holding iPhone with

    Netflix to Launch Lower-Priced Mobile-Only Plan in India

    Following several months of testing, Netflix is getting ready to officially launch a mobile-only plan in India. Priced significantly below its regular subscription plans, the new plan is meant to help the company better compete with local players like Hotstar. Netflix announced the step in its Q2 2019 earnings letter to investors Wednesday, writing: “We [...]

  • Always Be My Maybe

    'The Perfect Date,' 'Always Be My Maybe' Draw Big Crowds on Netflix

    Rom-coms are working for Netflix: “The Perfect Date,” a romantic comedy starring Noah Centineo from the company’s hit movie “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,” has been viewed by 48 million subscriber households in its first four weeks on the service, Netflix revealed Wednesday. And “Always Be My Maybe,” starring Ali Wong and Randall [...]

  • Nintendo Switch

    Nintendo Releases Updated Switch With Better Battery

    Nintendo just refreshed its wildly successful Switch game console, but the company isn’t giving existing Switch owners many reasons to upgrade: The renewed game console comes with a better battery that guarantees up to 9 hours of game play, while otherwise sticking with the same design and features of the original Switch. The new model [...]

  • Ryan Chanantry - Topic SVOD

    First Look Media's Topic Plans to Launch Subscription VOD Service (EXCLUSIVE)

    Can Topic execute a solid pivot into premium video? The digital storytelling outlet of Pierre Omidyar’s First Look Media thinks it can put together a niche Netflix-style subscription-video service curated to appeal to young “culture cravers.” Topic plans to launch the subscription VOD service in the fourth quarter of 2019, stocked with hundreds of hours [...]

  • Dan Ahdoot

    This New Podcast Lets You Take a Peek Into Celebrities' Fridges (EXCLUSIVE)

    Comedian Dan Ahdoot wants to show you a side of celebrities you haven’t seen before — which is why he is having them open up their fridges. Anyone appearing on Ahdoot’s new podcast “Green Eggs & Dan,” which was launched by the podcast network Podglomerate Wednesday, has to bring along a photo of the inside [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content