Published on October 27th, 2018 | by Brad Gibson0
FilmStruck movie-streaming service to shut down late November
The indie, classic film subscription-streaming FilmStruck will shut down next month, Turner and Warner Bros. Digital Networks announced Friday. The service has been available through its Apple TV app since November 2016, but is no longer available on the Apple TV App Store.
The service, part of the WarnerMedia group and now owned by AT&T, will cease U.S. and international operations on November 29, and the service stopped accepting new subscribers on October 26.
On Friday, the FilmStruck site posted a message saying “All current FilmStruck subscribers will receive an email with details about your account and the refund process as applicable.”
The only other alternative for FilmStruck viewers to see even a small part of the FilmStruck library is the free and recently launched Turner Classic Movies app, Watch TCM for Apple TV, but its selection of films compared to FilmStruck is exceedingly less. In addition, a pay TV subscription or TV provider login is required for viewing and currently the app is not supported in the TV app.
FilmStruck offered a lineup of some 1,800 contemporary and classic arthouse, indie, foreign and cult films and also was the exclusive internet-streaming home to the Criterion Collection of movies. Earlier this year, it added Warner Bros.’ library of classic films.
The move, which an AT&T spokesman told various news organization was not orchestrated by its new owners, is questionable. Two sources familiar with the decision told Variety the plan to close FilmStruck was made prior to AT&T’s closing the Time Warner buyout. In any case, the move is being seen by many industry watchers as AT&Ts move to streamline operations by abandoning small revenue ventures like FilmStruck.
In a statement, Turner and WB Digital Networks even said as much. “While FilmStruck has a very loyal fanbase, it remains largely a niche service. We plan to take key learnings from FilmStruck to help shape future business decisions in the direct-to-consumer space and redirect this investment back into our collective portfolios.”
AT&T earlier this month signaled that it would move to restructure the WarnerMedia video-streaming portfolio by combining content from various services into one future direct-to-consumer service.
What will happen to the Criterion Collection of films is yet to be decided. In a statement Friday, The Criterion Collection said, “we are disappointed by this decision…We’ll be trying to find ways we can bring our library and original content back to the digital space as soon as possible.”
The news is being seen by some as a major blow to classic film viewing. New Yorker magazine film reviewer Richard Brody wrote Friday, “(The) air of doom arises from more than the inherent conflicts of the high-culture outpost and the mass-market colossus. It’s born of another conflict, between the ownership of physical media and the mere purchase of access to data—between the permanent and the revocable, between the onetime purchase and the monthly subscription forever. Whatever’s worth revisiting over the years is worth owning—whether in physical media or at least a digital file.”