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CW Yanks "Gossip Girl" Web Streams

This story was written by Rafat Ali.

This could go down as the most bone-headed move from a TV network in 2008, or completely inconsequential: The CW network is pulling off its website the one show that is at least keeping it in the news. It said today that episodes of its series "Gossip Girl" will not be streamed on when it returns this Monday with original episodes, through to this season's end. The first 12 episodes of the season, which will remain on the site, were made available free to viewers about a week after their original airdate, reports THR.

The show's audience is younger, which would naturally leans towards watching more video and shows online than other demos. The move is being done "as an experiment" to figure out if its online window is cannibalizing the TV audience. The shows is as popular online, and each episode is generating hundreds of thousands of streams, the story is among the most downloaded TV shows on iTunes (where also will continue to offer new episodes, for a price, of course). More power to BitTorrent, of course

LAT: The move is designed to boost ratings for the program, which has developed a loyal online following but has failed to attract a sizable TV audience. The show's average of 2.5 million viewers has not been enough to lift CW out of the ratings cellar or staunch its financial losses.

Another way of looking at it, from TvbytheNumbers: "Now CW is using the Internet to promote the show in a way that might seem very strange, but probably isn't.  They're using the Internet by discontinuing free web streaming of Gossip Girl from the CW's website.  It's probably not that strange if you think of it as what it really is: a way to promote something by creating the illusion of interest and demand where there actually isn't any."

CW is a joint venture between CBS (NYSE: CBS) and Warner Brothers. 

By Rafat Ali

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