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Hulu tries to one-up Netflix with CW deal

Forget waiting a whole season before watching "The Vampire Diaries." Hulu Plus will offer episodes of the show online the day after they air on the CW Network.

Hulu has signed a licensing deal with CW Network that will give the online-video service something that its archrival Netflix doesn't have.

A publicity still of Nina Dobrev, one of the stars of 'The Vampire Diaries' a CW Network show. Andrew Eccles/CW Network

Two weeks ago, Netflix announced its own deal with the network operated by Time Warner and CBS, parent company of CNET. But in that deal, Netflix customers will get only previous seasons of current CW shows, such as "Gossip Girl" and "The Vampire Diaries."

Hulu said in a press release today that under the five-year agreement, it will "offer next-day access to the most recent five current prime-time episodes [at Hulu Plus, the paid-subscription service], while users of the free Hulu service will be able to watch five episodes of current season programming eight days after airing."

Netflix, however, has access to the shows for a longer period. The Web's leading video-rental service said it obtained rights that extend for four years after each series ends its broadcast on the network. That goes for any current and future CW series.

Netflix's deal was not exclusive. Under the terms of the deal, CW can offer shows to cable and traditional TV broadcasters as well as make episodes available for download and streaming.