When WarnerMedia announced last month that it would be shutting down its streaming service FilmStruck, the team at the Criterion Collection said it would be looking for a new digital home. Today, Criterion announced that it will be building that home itself — namely, launching a streaming service called The Criterion Channel.
The company remains best known for its beautifully restored and packaged DVDs and Blu-rays of classic art-house films, but it’s also moved into streaming, first by offering selections from its film library on Hulu, and then by creating its own channel within the larger FilmStruck service.
In a blog post, Criterion described The Criterion Channel as “picking up where the old service left off, programming director spotlights and actor retrospectives featuring major Hollywood and international classics and hard-to-find discoveries from around the world, complete with special features like commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage, and original documentaries.”
The plan is to launch in the spring of 2019, at a price of $10.99 per month or $100 per year. However, Criterion is already looking for “charter subscribers” to sign up now — in exchange for supporting Criterion (and presumably offsetting the technical costs), those subscribers will get a discounted rate and other perks.
“We need everyone who was a FilmStruck subscriber or who’s been tweeting and signing petitions and writing letters to come out and to sign up for the new service,” the company says.
As for FilmStruck, a number of high-profile filmmakers have reportedly reached out to Warner Bros. executives in the hopes of saving the service. It sounds, however, like WarnerMedia already has plans for a more comprehensive service that will encompass aspects of FilmStruck — in fact, Criterion says its library will also be available on the WarnerMedia service when it launches.