Saturday, November 17, 2018

Criterion Announces New Streaming Service

New developments in the wake of AT&T/WarnerMedia shutting down the FilmStruck streaming service: The Criterion Collection has announced it will launch a streaming service in the spring of 2019.

According to the Criterion website, "The Criterion Channel will be picking up where the old service left off, programming director spotlights and actor retrospectives featuring major Hollywood and international classics and hard-to-find discoveries from around the world, complete with special features like commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage, and original documentaries. We will continue with our guest programmer series, Adventures in Moviegoing. Our regular series like Art-House America, Split Screen, and Meet the Filmmakers, and our Ten Minutes or Less section will all live on, along with Tuesday’s Short + Feature and the Friday Night Double Feature, and of course our monthly fifteen-minute film school, Observations on Film Art."

The Los Angeles Times reports that Criterion films will also be available on the new Warner streaming service when it launches in late 2019. (Thanks to Mel for sharing this article in comments here.)

Charter Subscribers of the Criterion Channel will pay a reduced fee of $9.99 per month after a month-long free trial. The regular fee will be $10.99.

Charter members will also receive a "holiday gift-certificate present, for use on the Criterion Collection website" as well as other perks.

It sounds as though the Criterion Channel will be retreating to the original FilmStruck format as it existed before the addition of classic films from the Warner library, when the focus was foreign, indie, and "art house" films along with Criterion titles. Of course, one of the drawbacks is that the new channel will now be showing films from a much smaller library, for the same price as FilmStruck.

This also doesn't solve the problem of the Warner library disappearing from streaming for the next year; it's expected some of the titles will eventually be available on the new Warner service, but it's unknown how they will be presented. Warner Media and Criterion said “Today’s announcement ensures that fans will have access to these films from the Criterion Collection as well as films from WarnerMedia’s deep and extensive library in what will be a rich and curated experience," but there's no explanation of what that means in terms of the Warner streaming service. If they intend to present the films in a curated fashion such as has been available on FilmStruck, why wouldn't they simply keep FilmStruck going for the next year and then fold it into the new channel in some fashion once it's up and running?

At latest check the petition to save FilmStruck has accumulated over 55,000 signatures.

Numerous prominent filmmakers have signed two letters urging AT&T/WarnerMedia not to shut down the streaming service.

I have signed up for a Charter subscription for the new Criterion Channel service and will take advantage of the free month to determine if I'd like to continue with it. Although I own a significant number of Criterion Collection films on Blu-ray and DVD, I've been enjoying the not-on-DVD movies directed by Yasujiro Ozu which Criterion provides on FilmStruck, and I'll be hoping for more of the same on their new channel.

I'll report on further significant developments regarding FilmStruck and the Criterion Channel as news becomes available.


Blogger Terence Towles Canote said...

While I never subscribed to FilmStruck, one of the big draws for me was the classic movies from Warner's library. Without them I don't think I will be as interested in The Criterion Channel! Of course, I was also disappointed when Warner Archive Instant was combined with Filmstruck. All those hours of classic Warner Bros. TV shows disappeared!

10:55 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Terry!

FilmStruck definitely became of greater interest to me when they added the WB library to the mix. It will be interesting to see what the new channel offers! In the meantime, I'm sure glad I have an extensive personal film library...

Thanks for stopping by!

Best wishes,

5:03 PM  
Blogger mel said...

Reported in Los Angeles Times, Tuesday April 9, 2019:

"Classic Film Library has a new streaming home.
Criterion Collection starts its own channel after FilmStruck, where its trove had resided, was closed."

A report by Ryan Faughnder follows the above headlines.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I checked today and was glad to see some of the not-on-DVD Yasujiro Ozu films which had been available on FilmStruck are now available on the Criterion Channel. Hope to catch up with them soon.

Thanks for the tip on the article! Here's the link for those interested:

Best wishes,

7:04 PM  

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