New video streaming services are launching left and right these days, and now Time Warner-owned Turner is looking to get a piece of the action for itself, too. The company announced this morning plans to debut an on-demand service focused on films, including both indie titles and mainstream Hollywood hits from major studios, including Warner Bros. Called FilmStruck, the service is being developed by Turner Classic Movies (TCM) in collaboration with the Criterion Collection, and will arrive in the fall.
The content library will include films from studios like Janus Films (which will bring over 1,000 titles), plus Flicker Alley, Icarus, Kino, Milestone and Zeitgeist, as well as larger studios. It will also be home to titles like “Seven Samurai,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “A Room With A View,” “Blood Simple,” “My Life As A Dog,” “Mad Max,” “Breaker Morant” and “The Player,” the company notes.
John Martin, chairman and CEO of Turner described the service in an announcement as something that’s “tailor-made for the diehard movie enthusiast,” explaining that FilmStruck’s aim will be to offer mix of content, including independent, foreign and art house films.
The service’s film selection will be refreshed on a continual basis, says Turner, and will be accessible on range of consumer devices.
Of course, Turner’s isn’t the only one trying to carve out a niche by focusing more heavily on movies while competitors like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu invest heavily in new, original TV series for consumers to binge. The streaming movie service Tribeca Shortlist, which comes from Lionsgate and Tribeca Enterprises (the Tribeca Film Festival org), is also touting its own movie streaming service’s quality and curation as its advantage over Netflix, for example.
The problem with these offerings, however well-designed or smartly “curated” they may be, is that they’re entering into what’s now becoming an overly crowded market. Even at just a few dollars per month, it’s hard for consumers to justify spending the extra funds when they already subscribe to Netflix or Amazon Prime (which includes streaming TV and movies), and perhaps one or two others, like HBO or Hulu.
That makes these film-only movie services with limited selections niche competitors at best. They may get a core group of true movie buffs to subscribe, but the larger audience will be satisfied by what’s already available on the top services.
And even if the studios were to pull their catalogs entirely from those services, those companies are ready to step in with their own original content to replace it. Both Amazon and Netflix are doing feature films themselves these days, for instance. And they aren’t bad either – Netflix’s debut film even got Oscar nods.
Turner has not yet revealed pricing for FilmStruck or an exact launch date. However, the company said the service will be ad-free, and competitively priced compared with other subscription-based services.