Dennis D. McDonald (ddmcd@ddmcd.com) consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management. Follow him on Google+. He publishes on CTOvision.com and aNewDomain and volunteers with the Alexandria Film Festival. He is also on Linkedin. To subscribe to emailed updates about additions to this web site click here.

Filmstruck Is Dead - Long Live FilmStruck!

Filmstruck Is Dead - Long Live FilmStruck!

By Dennis D. McDonald

Back in 2017 I wrote Oh No: Another Video Streaming Service! about a new streaming service for quality films called FilmStruck. While I applauded expanded availability of quality Criterion films, I lamented that the market was now faced with another commercial pay service which indicated we are rapidly reaching the point where subscribing to video streaming services will soon eclipse monthly cable TV subscription prices.

This week, FilmStruck subscribers received this email from Criterion announcing the death of FilmStruck and the likely rebirth of Criterion online:

It is a sad day. FilmStruck is shutting down at midnight tonight. Thank you for being one of the people who gave FilmStruck and the Criterion Channel a chance in its first two years. Without you we would never have gotten this far. It feels as if we were just hitting our stride, and it's heartbreaking that the passion project of Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Collection has to come to an end. FilmStruck has left its mark on us at Criterion. The lights may go out at midnight, but we will still be carrying the torch. 

If you’ve loved the curated programming on FilmStruck and the Criterion Channel, there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon. We’ve been given a second chance, an opportunity, with TCM’s blessing, to rebuild an independent service, owned and run by Criterion, with a mission to pick up where FilmStruck left off.

Set to launch in the U.S. and Canada in spring 2019, the new service will not only include our own streaming library but will also feature a full spectrum of Hollywood classics and carefully selected films from independent distributors around the world. We’ll be applying the lessons we learned at FilmStruck, and the mission will be the same: to create a dedicated movie lover’s dream streaming service, with diverse thematic programming, supplemental features, guest programmers, hosted introductions, and more.

We need your support! Please sign up to become a Charter Subscriber today. It only takes a minute and you don’t need to put down a credit card, but if you do sign up now, you’ll enjoy a reduced subscription price and other benefits for life, as long your membership stays continuously active. 

We know there are only a few hours left to get through all those great movies still on your FilmStruck watchlist, but please take a moment and sign up to keep the original mission and spirit of an adventurous, curated, film-focused streaming service alive. We can’t do it without you!

I’m wondering what this will do to the Kanopy service which I get through an app downloaded through my local public library. Kanopy also streams Criterion films which includes a wonderful trove of classics and “foreign” films. Will Criterion pull their films from Kanopy? Who knows. Will a “Criterion films only” service be able to sustain itself at affordable rates? Unclear.

I do know that, for me at least, searching through Amazon Prime and Netflix is becoming harder and harder to navigate as I search for films I’m interested in watching. Netflix search capabilities have become less useful as the ratio of “recommended” and “Netflix only” programming to all programming increases, and Amazon Prime is flooded with a plethora of junky Z-grade films and search results that make it difficult to screen out non-Prime films that cost extra to watch (which I assume is intentional).

Maybe subscribing to a few high quality services isn’t such a bad idea after all!

Copyright(c) 2018 by Dennis D. McDonald

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