Turner to Join OTT Market This Fall with FilmStruck

The ad-free movie service will feature a rotating selection of more than 1,000 feature films

Get the popcorn and JuJu Bees ready. Turner Classic Movies is launching its own over-the-top (OTT) subscription TV services this fall, says Variety. Focused solely on feature films, the ad-free movie service will include a rotating selection of more than 1,000 independent, art-house and international films, including “A Hard Day’s Night,” “A Room with a View,” “My Life as a Dog,” and the original “Mad Max,” as well as commentaries and other supplemental content.

FilmStruck will be developed and managed by Turner Classic Movies in collaboration with the Criterion Collection.

Maltese Falcon

Photo courtesy of Turner Classic Movies

“Night after night, for more than twenty years, the programming team at Turner Classic Movies has been exploring the world of film in a smart, adventurous way. They have stuck to their mission, consistently shining a light on the classics, delighting us with their themes, surprising us with their discoveries, and earning our trust,” said Peter Becker for Criterion in a post about FilmStruck.

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“So when they asked us to team up with them to launch FilmStruck, a new subscription streaming service designed for people who love independent, art-house, and international cinema, we were honored and thrilled. Combining Turner’s programming experience with Criterion’s library of films and supplemental content made all the sense in the world,” added Becker.

Currently, Criterion has a relationship with Hulu Plus which will continue through November 2016. After that, FilmStruck and the Criterion Channel will be the exclusive streaming home for the Criterion Selection. A price has not yet been set for FilmStruck, but a rep told Variety that it would be competitively priced with similar services like Netflix and Hulu.

Bloomberg reports that Coleman Breland, president of TCM and Turner content distribution, said FilmStruck is targeting 22 to 44-year-olds and does not expect there to be overlap beteween this audience and those who watch the Turner Classic Movies Channel. Breland estimates the service will draw 10 to 15 million consumers to pay for independent and international films.

Initial comments to the news on Criterion’s site have been positive, though commenters asked that FilmStruck to be available via Roku, Xbox, PS4, Chromecast and Apple TV.

Insider Take:

With Time Warner’s investment in cable, it makes sense that the company would want to diversify its investments as more cord cutters are ditching their cable boxes in favor of √† la carte OTT options like Netflix, Hulu, CBS All Access, Seeso, and now FilmStruck.

What we find particularly interesting about this deal is Turner’s target audience of 22 to 44-year-olds. While we can see the attraction of independent films for this audience, it seems less likely for this group of viewers to have significant interest in classic films unless they are movies they watched with their parents and grandparents. From a discovery standpoint, this age group’s interest in classic films seems like a bit of a gamble.

Turner is going to have to be very selective about its product mix to attract and retain subscribers. The smart play would be to roll out the service slowly and pay attention to metrics data which will tell them who is watching FilmStruck and what films most interest them. If the target audience doesn’t match up to the product¬† selection, Turner can make adjustments. Hopefully, they’ll be nimble and able to adjust on the fly. Of course, we’ll be watching to let you know how things progress. Stay tuned!

~ Dana E. Neuts, Senior Staff Writer, Subscription Insider