Turner is getting into the streaming business with FilmStruck, an ad-free SVOD service for film aficionados, developed and managed by Turner Classic Movies (TCM) in collaboration with the Criterion Collection.
FilmStruck will be the new, exclusive streaming home for the Criterion Collection, owned by Janus Film Library, which features hundreds of foreign and art house films, mixed with a scattering of pop culture favorites. Titles include “Seven Samurai,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “A Room With A View,” “Blood Simple,” “My Life As A Dog,” “Breaker Morant” and “The Player.”
FilmStruck will debut in the U.S. in November, when the Criterion Collection’s current licensing deal with Hulu expires.
At launch, FilmStruck will feature a library of close to 1,500 titles, which will be refreshed regularly. In addition to the Criterion Collection, other content providers will include indie distributors Flicker Alley, Icarus, Kino, Milestone and Zeitgeist, as well major movie studios including Warner Bros.
Turner reps declined to reveal the subscription price for FilmStruck, but said it will be priced to compete with other streaming movie services in the marketplace.
“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,” said Peter Becker, president of the Criterion Collection, in a statement. The platform will feature a Criterion channel, which “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.”
The size and scope of FilmStruck’s library positions it as a niche player in relation to major streaming providers. According to a report released last week by Wall St. research firm Barclays, Amazon Prime Video leads the major U.S. VOD providers in terms of library size with 18,405 movies and 1,981 TV episodes, followed by Hulu (6,656 movies/3,588 TV episodes) and Netflix (4,563 movies/2,445 TV episodes).
Available in the U.S. and Canada, Fandor gives subscribers access to a library of approximately 7,000 foreign, documentary and independent film titles for $7.50/month. It also targets filmmakers with an attractive 50/50 revenue split. Good Machine co-founder Ted Hope was the company’s CEO from January 2014 to early 2015, when he left to become the head of production for Amazon Original Movies. Cable network Starz is a minority investor.
Priced at $5.99/month, Mubi features a small (30-title) rotating lineup of foreign, independent and classic films. It was founded in 2007 by Turkish entrepreneur Efe Cakarel as a social network for cinephiles. In 2010, it launched a streaming service with a list of content partners toplined by the Criterion Collection, which moved to Hulu the following year. Mubi’s current content partners include Sony Pictures. Unlike FilmStruck, which will be exclusive to the U.S., Mubi is available more than 200 territories around the world.
Launched in 2015 by Tribeca Enterprises and Lionsgate, Tribeca Shortlist offers a selection of studio features, indies, foreign films and documentaries curated by a collection a team of industry “shortlisters,” including actors John Leguizamo and Matthew Modine, documentary filmmaker and producer Morgan Spurlock (“Super Size Me”) and producer Jason Blum (“Paranormal Activity”). It is priced at $4.99/month.