It is sad to see that FilmStruck, the arthouse and classic film streaming service, will shortly shut down its online access after only two years of operation. The news appeared with little fanfare in Variety on Friday, but subscribers should already have received an e-mail to that effect, and visitors to the site will see the following message:
“We regret to inform you that FilmStruck will discontinue service on 29th November 2018. We are no longer enrolling new subscribers. If you are a current subscriber, you will receive an email with more information and you can still access the service via the links below. Please reference the FAQs or email [email protected] for more information. Thank you to all our fans, loyal customers and all film lovers.”
In a world where the streaming airwaves are dominated by Netflix and Amazon, and with classic cinema titles seemingly increasingly hard to find, it is disappointing to see this one-stop shop for quality movie streaming fall by the wayside.
For those of you who did subscribe, you will know that FilmStruck’s library ran to more than 1,800 films with titles being added all the time. You could watch film noir staples like The Big Sleep (1946), or seek out hard-to-find masterworks like Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams (1990). There was also plenty of low-brow Sunday afternoon chill-outs, such as Kelly’s Heroes (1970) and Grand Prix (1966). FilmStruck was the go-to online resource for the Criterion Collection of movies and its legendary bonus materials archive.
Owners of WarnerMedia, AT&T, had indicated earlier in October that a “restructure” of its video streaming portfolio would be on the cards, and that the company would be “consolidating resources.” A subscription-based service from HBO could well pull in content from other parts of WarnerMedia. Hopefully that will include many of the former FilmStruck titles too.
In a statement, Turner and WB Digital Networks said, “We’re incredibly proud of the creativity and innovations produced by the talented and dedicated teams who worked on FilmStruck over the past two years. 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.”