TCM and Criterion Teaming for Cinephile-Geared Streaming Service FilmStruck
Quick, without thinking, what’s the biggest problem with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, and the smorgasbord of competing video-streaming platforms available in today’s crowded marketplace? If your answer was “They took X-Men: Evolution off of Netflix, like, what’s that all about” then I am glad to have found a kindred spirit at long last, but the much more common response tends to be “Most of the movies are bad.” And it‘s true — the availability for, say, pre-1960 films on these streaming platforms is lamentable, with the focus disproportionately placed on films released since 2000, and gems even relatively sparse among that group. But that’s the one good thing about our free capitalist economy: when there‘s a niche demand waiting to be filled, some clever company will always jump in to give the people what they want.
Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Collection have teamed to launch the newly-announced joint venture FilmStruck, a streaming platform with an emphasis on foreign, rare, classic and independent films. The subscription-based, ad-free service will debut with a library of hundreds of titles that will rotate in and out month by month, featuring films from independent outfits as well as Hollywood studios. Criterion will manage a channel on the site to offer titles from their thousand-film-deep catalogue, though in less fortunate news, this exclusive licensing agreement means that the weekly collection of free Criterion titles hosted on Hulu will cease circulation. (UPDATE: In other unfortunate news, the Criterion Channel within FilmStruck will be premium and charge an additional fee, according to CNN.)
The companies have yet to place a price tag on this exciting new service, but they have set a tentative launch for the autumn of this year. This fills a major, sorely-felt vacuum in the online-streaming market, though it’ll be interesting to see just how fiscally viable this enterprise is. Cinephiles are a vocal, social-media-literate bunch, and so it can often feel like there are more of us than there actually are. Here’s hoping there are enough to keep FilmStruck afloat.