TCA: CW Head Mark Pedowitz Calls Hopes of New Ratings System ‘Naive,’ Talks ‘Arrow’ Spinoff ‘Flash’

Says network is "very profitable"

CW president Mark Pedowitz says his network is "very profitable" and that his goal of creating a new ratings system was "naive" but remains "a work in progress." He also said the CW sees no obstacles to a "Flash" spinoff of its other DC Comics-inspired series, "Arrow."

In a Television Critics Association panel Tuesday, Pedowitz was asked about comments by CBS Corp. president Les Moonves, whose company co-owns CW with Warner Bros., that while the CW "may lose some money," its shows are profitable and make money for CBS and Warner Bros.

Also read: TCA: Les Moonves on Time Warner Cable Talks, Cote de Pablo, Jay Leno and CW's Future

"I paid particular attention to Leslie's comments," he said. "We've said consistently: The parent company's been very happy with how the CW has performed. Within the echo system that exists, it is a very profitable venture. So we're a platform as well as a broadcaster with those shows."

Pedowitz said in May 2012, soon after he took over the CW, that he hoped to implement a new ratings system that would measure not only TV viewers but also online streaming. The CW has long complained that its millenial audience isn't adequately measured because many viewers prefer to watch shows online.

Also read: CW Plans New Way of Measuring Viewers, Choose-Your-Own Adventure-Style Online Programming

But he said creating a new system has proven more difficult than he anticipated. He said he had some "naivete my first year in the job."

"Thinking I could create a new rating system is still a work in progress," he said.

As the network keeps working on a new system, it is relying on Nielsen online campaign ratings, he said.

Also read: Can Streaming Cure the CW's Ratings Woes? (And Save 'Community,' Too?)

Pedowitz also talked about the CW's plans to take further advantage of its relationship with Warner's DC Comics. Upcoming episodes of the network's "Arrow" will introduce Dr. Barry Allen, a.k.a. the superfast hero "The Flash." The character could eventually score a spinoff, Pedowitz said.

"We do want to expand upon the DC universe," he said. "We think they're rich characters that we could use, and we thought this was a very organic way to get there."

On Monday, CBS made the case that 18-49-year-old viewers are declining in numbers and influence. Pedowitz was asked why the CW continues to pursue 18-34-year-old viewers if its parent company doesn't consider them as valuable as they once were.

Also read: Why Networks Are Bleeding 18-49 Year Olds — CBS Has an Answer

Pedowitz said his network simply targets a more specific demographic than CBS, the top-rated and most-viewed network.

"They sell [to advertisers] a little bit differently than we do," he said.

The CW has relied partly on streaming deals with Netflix to keep its shows profiable. Pedowitz said he hoped the arrangement would continue. If Netflix ever ends the relationship, he said, "hopefully there'll be some other service out there."