The Criterion Collection and Turner Classic Movies, perhaps the top two sources for fans to access classic and foreign films, are teaming up to offer a new streaming service called Filmstruck. Not only will the library of both these titans be available to subscribers starting this fall, but films controlled by classic and foreign films distributors Janus Films, Flicker Alley, Icarus, Kino, Milestone and Zeitgeist as well.
No set premier date for the service has been announced beyond this coming fall.
TCM’s library consists of all films produced by MGM Studios prior to 1986 and Warner Brothers and RKO movies pre-1949. It is not clear as to whether classic films from other studios’ libraries that TCM has licensed for broadcast on their cable channel will be available through Filmstruck. Still, this represents a murderer’s row of a service for film fans interested in much more than just current releases.
The move does mean that the Criterion Collection will be leaving its current streaming home at Hulu, a blow to that service which is currently in the middle of expanding its own library of films available for viewing.
Here is the complete press release making the announcement.
Global media company Turner is launching the company’s first direct-to-consumer product in the U.S. called FilmStruck. This brand new subscription video on-demand service for film aficionados, developed and managed by Turner Classic Movies (TCM) in collaboration with the Criterion Collection, will feature a comprehensive and constantly refreshed library of films comprised of an eclectic mix of contemporary and classic arthouse, indie, foreign and cult films. FilmStruck will also be the new exclusive streaming home for the critically acclaimed and award-winning Criterion Collection, which will include the Criterion Channel, a new premium service programmed and curated by the Criterion team. FilmStruck will allow viewers to watch movies anywhere and anytime on the device of their choice, in a completely ad-free environment, and is slated to launch in fall 2016.
FilmStruck’s impressive library will feature a deep roster of films from such celebrated indie studios as Janus Films, Flicker Alley, Icarus, Kino, Milestone and Zeitgeist, along with movies from Hollywood’s major movie studios including Warner Bros. Among the hundreds of critically acclaimed and award-winning titles to be featured on FilmStruck are Seven Samurai, A Hard Day’s Night, A Room With A View, Blood Simple, My Life As A Dog, Mad Max, Breaker Morant and The Player.
FilmStruck is the latest move in Turner’s overall strategy to innovate beyond the traditional television ecosystem by providing rich viewing experiences that drive engagement across all platforms. Today’s news follows a string of groundbreaking announcements for the company, such as the formation of ELEAGUE, Turner’s new eSports league created in partnership with WME | IMG and set to launch this summer; Turner’s recent investment in Mashable, which includes access to both content and valuable consumer data; Turner and CBS’s wide-ranging, multiplatform contract extension for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship; and the launch of CNN’s Great Big Story, which combines video storytelling custom-built for social distribution with integrated advertising.
“At Turner, we are dedicated to engaging fans wherever they are, and we’re investing aggressively in content, new capabilities and new businesses to achieve that goal,” said John Martin, chairman and CEO of Turner. “FilmStruck is a terrific example of our strategy to meet consumer demand for great content across all screens. It’s tailor-made for the diehard movie enthusiasts who craves a deep, intimate experience with independent, foreign, and arthouse films. And it takes advantage of TCM’s powerful curation capabilities, as well as its proven track record in building a long-term relationship with passionate film fans.”
“TCM is leading Turner’s strategic move into the direct-to-consumer business with a truly differentiated and distinct streaming product that adds tremendous value to our portfolio,” said Coleman Breland, president of TCM and Turner Content Distribution. “Together with our partners at the Criterion Collection, we are creating a must-have, premium film brand that will draw from the most celebrated movie libraries in the world.”
“Criterion is teaming up with TCM to launch an arthouse film lovers’ dream streaming service,” said Peter Becker, president of the Criterion Collection. “Working with TCM’s programming team, we’ll present a broad, constantly changing cross-section of Criterion titles on FilmStruck, a platform designed from the start to present films with the kind of robust supplemental features that Criterion is known for. The addition of the premium Criterion Channel will offer subscribers the most comprehensive Criterion experience ever available anywhere, including a steady stream of exclusive original content and archival discoveries, plus continual access to more than 1,000 films from the Janus Films library, many unavailable on disc or anywhere else. We’re very excited to be joining forces with TCM to make FilmStruck the streaming service serious movie fans have been waiting for.”
Additional information is available on the FilmStruck website at www.filmstruck.com.