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Streaming service FilmStruck shutting down next month as world darkens

For the last two years, movie fans have been able to access a wide breadth of movie classics that make for necessary viewing all thanks to the streaming service FilmStruck. Sadly, as the world continues to turn to go dark and all good things turn to ash (most literally, the Avengers), the service announced today that it will be shutting down its services at the end of next month. Per Variety, the reasoning stems from AT&T‘s (which now owns Time Warner, which runs FilmStruck) desire “to streamline WarnerMedia, Turner and Warner Bros. Digital Networks.”

FilmStruck will cease operations a month from now on November 29, and subscribers can now contact the service regarding refunds. As well, they’ve also taken the ax to DramaFever, a subscription service dedicated to Korean dramas. Turner and Warner Media put out a statement regarding the cancellation of FilmStruck.

“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.”

An offshoot of Turner Classic Movies, the service (launched November 2016) offered access to almost 2,000 classic, cult and art house movies, including some films from the Criterion Collection. This was a completely invaluable resource to cinephiles looking to broaden their horizons, especially considering Netflix doesn’t offer a lot of access to movies made before the last 20 years. Through FilmStruck you could access movies like CASABLANCA, SINGIN IN THE RAIN, CITIZEN KANE, THE THIN MAN, SEVEN SAMURAI, and many more. Now you have to go back to rooting through your local library’s DVD section, or praying there’s still one active video rental place nearby. Is it too much to compare it to the apocalypse?

In short, the answer is money. Not enough people were subscribing, and AT&T wants Warner to be able to compete with Netflix in the age of digital content. Sources close to the companies say AT&T doesn’t want to waste time thinking about “peripheral projects” that aren’t major sources of revenue. They’re hoping to throw their biggest hat into the ring by launching their own WB subscription service next year, which will house their library of films, TV shows and more. So, there’s a glimmer of hope all these movies could make it on their service, but that has yet to be confirmed.

Obviously, this is a gut punch to anyone who valued FilmStruck as a way of accessing those hard-to-get classics. New streaming services have no interest in providing viewers with classic content, only with shoveling in new stuff that keeps them talking online. Though you can still buy many of these movies on Blu-ray and DVD, that's vastly more expensive than $11 a month for all-around access to a bevy of classics. Hopefully, AT&T and Warner Bros. will put a ton of that nixed FS content onto their new streaming service, as losing easy access to such an impressive, essential library would be nothing short of tragic. 

 

Source: Variety

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