Great news today for lovers of classic, old-school film: Turner Classic Movies (TCM), the only TV network that still might show a few Universal Monster movies each Halloween, is launching its own streaming service this fall in partnership with The Criterion Collection. The new service, dubbed FilmStruck, will feature hundreds of independent and Hollywood films both new and old, including the likes of Mad Max, Blood Simple and Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai.
Of great significance here is the fact that FilmStuck will now be the exclusive streaming home for Criterion Collection films, which had previously been part of Hulu. It’s a pretty big blow in the Streaming Wars for Hulu to take, as they leaned fairly heavily on their Criterion Collection titles in competing against Netflix, film-wise. According to the New York Times, Criterion will operate its own channel on the service, which will be advertising free.
The obvious question is how much TCM plans to charge for their service, and what the total size of the library will be. Do they see the service as catering to a niche market in hardcore film geeks, similar to a horror-only streaming service such as Shudder, or do they think that old, black & white films will manage a mass appeal? It’s hard to say exactly what kind of drawing power there is in Casablanca for the masses, but film lovers will likely be thrilled.
“FilmStruck is a terrific example of our strategy to meet consumer demand for great content across all screens,” John Martin, chief executive of Turner, said in a statement. “It’s tailor-made for the die-hard movie enthusiast that crave 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 of building a long-term relationship with passionate film fans.”
FilmStruck is meant to launch in the fall.