Time Warner’s Turner unit is joining corporate cousin HBO in the direct-to-consumer subscription video on demand business — and in a way that should please fans of classic films — as well as those of the Beatles.
Turner’s launching an ad-free streaming site, FilmStruck, this fall featuring what it calls “an eclectic mix of contemporary and classic art house, indie, foreign and cult films.” Turner Classic Movies will run the operation, which will be the exclusive streaming venue for the Criterion Collection, including its Criterion Channel.
Criterion’s library is moving from Hulu, where it had been had been available since 2011 after moving from Netflix.
Turner says pricing for FilmStruck is still being determined. Films it will offer include The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night plus Seven Samurai, A Room With A View, Blood Simple, My Life As A Dog, Mad Max, Breaker Morant and The Player.
Last month Turner CEO John Martin disclosed his plan to launch “at least a couple of direct-to-consumer products in the marketplace” by the end of 2016. He said that they “could be at our existing networks” and might be “brand extensions for passions where people might be willing to pay us.”
Today he calls FilmStruck “a terrific example of our strategy to meet consumer demand for great content across all screens.” The Turner chief says it’s “tailor-made for the diehard movie enthusiast who craves a deep, intimate experience with independent, foreign, and art house 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.”
The company calls this its “latest move…to innovate beyond the traditional television ecosystem.” It partnered with WME-IMG to form an eSports league, ELeague, that will launch this summer. It has invested in Mashable. And CNN’s funding an ad-supported independent operation, Great Big Story, with BuzzFeed-like news and non-fiction targeting Milennials.
Criterion Collection President Peter Becker says the new service will include “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.””