FilmStruck Streaming Service to Include Criterion Collection Films

Turner Communications has announced FilmStruck, their over-the-top (“OTT” or online) streaming service that will include Criterion Collection films. The Criterion Collection has been available as part of a Hulu subscription but will soon be pulled and offered exclusively on the new Turner subscription service.

FilmStruck will launch in the fall aimed at people who love foreign, art house, and indie films. The service will include a library of films from Turner’s parent company, Time Warner Inc, along with the Criterion collection. The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company founded in 1984 that specializes important classic and contemporary films. In its early years it released DVDs and laserdiscs, then Blu-ray discs and now streaming. Known for art films from directors like Fellini, Renoir, Godard, Kurosawa, Cocteau, Bergman, Hitchcock, David Lean, Kubrick, Sturges, Eisenstein and more, the films are presented uncut in their original aspect ratio. Care is taken when digitizing the movies with the use of state-of-the-art telecine equipment and highly skilled colorists. Where possible the company works with the directors and cinematographers to ensure the look reflects their intentions.

Criterion will continue to include commentaries and supplemental content that indie fans have come to know and love. While the Criterion Collection has only 1,100 films, they have plans to expand their library under the premium service called the Criterion Channel.

The Criterion Channel will be adding select contemporary films that can’t be found elsewhere including streaming premieres. For viewers who didn’t take film history classes, there will be curated lists. Filmmakers will be invited to champion their favorite classics, creating top-ten lists that highlight exclusive archival discoveries.

In mid-November the Criterion Collection of classic films will be pulled from Hulu including (to name just a few): Diabolique, The Great Dictator, 8 1/2, Seven Samurai, Eraserhead, Watershed Down, A Hard Day’s Night, A Room With A View, Mad Max, Brazil, This is Spinal Tap and Picnic at Hanging Rock. If you want to continue to see these films, it will be yet another monthly subscription, (presumably) $10 per month but the exact price hasn’t been announced.

The streaming world continues to become divided with media companies wanting to keep their own slice of the pie by taking back their content as licensing contracts end. The end result may be that OTT streaming content will require so many subscriptions that it will cost as much as our old cable bills yet lack the convenience of a single source. My main monthly streaming bill is quickly approaching $100 per month— Netflix 4K is $12, commercial free Hulu with Showtime is $20, HBO Now is $15, CBS All Access is $6, and Sling TV is $30 (includes Entertainment and lifestyle package). I’d hate to have to add more. We still have until November, I think I’ll use the PlayOn PlayLater recording feature to record the movies I don’t have time to watch now.

nathan_h's picture

The great thing about Criterion being on Hulu was that you had access to most of the awesome Criterion Collection, hundreds of classics and cutting edge movies, on any Hulu capable device.

Hulu is ALMOST as common an app on TV's and streamining boxes as netflix. In fact, it is the second most common streaming app in the US on devices!

It takes years to reach that position and ubiquity, and let's be honest, Hulu was able to do that because of the powerful TV networks driving it forward and paying to get it placed everywhere.

But we Criterion fans benefitted from that push, even if we didn't want or need all those network TV shows.


With this new streaming service, we are SOL. The app does not appear on any smart TV platforms, and there are no plans to add it to existing TVs. Those existing TVs, of course, already have Hulu.

Hopefully every STB will get this new service eventually, but there is no guarantee. They might, eventually. But the thing is, those STB's already have Hulu.

And then of course, there are the economics. Depending on what your priorities were, you were getting current TV shows for free on top of your Criterion movies, or you were getting the nearly complete Criterion library in glorious 1080p for free, on top of your TV shows -- all for one low price, on Hulu.

In the future, you'll need to pay more in order to get the same content.


So I hope this is a profitable move for Criterion. I've been a fan and customer since the laserdisc days!

But from a consumer standpoint, this feels like a step back. We will have less availability and probably higher costs.

usuallee's picture

That's just it, you don't get "glorious 1080p" with Hulu. Never did. They only provide 720p and it looks like crap. They only provide stereo sound as well, no 5.1 and certainly no high-rez audio.

I'm excited to check out Criterion on filmstruck because hopefully it will be a better experience over Hulu. Not holding my breath though.

usuallee's picture

The movie referenced above is Watership down, not Watershed Down.

Cautiously excited for this service, I just hope they provide not just 1080p, but 1080p in a fairly robust bitrate. You can say 1080p all you want, or 720p but if it's compressed to within an inch of its life, it will look like garbage. Especially on a large projection screen. You can have whatever resolution you want, but if the bitrate is choked, it doesn't matter. It seems a lot of people don't understand that. Hulu is only 720p and it looks terrible.