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Turner to Launch Movie-Streaming Subscription Service With 1,000-Plus Titles

Turner this fall will launch its first over-the-top subscription-video service, FilmStruck, marking another move by the TV programmer to extend its business into the digital realm.

FilmStruck, designed for film buffs with a rotating selection of more than 1,000 art-house and indie titles, is being developed and managed by Turner Classic Movies in collaboration with the Criterion Collection.

Movies on the ad-free service are set to include “Seven Samurai,” the Beatle’s “A Hard Day’s Night,” “A Room With A View,” “Blood Simple,” “My Life As A Dog,” the original “Mad Max,” “Breaker Morant” and “The Player.”

Turner is still determining pricing for FilmStruck, but it will be “competitively priced to other streaming movie services,” says a rep.

FilmStruck will be the new exclusive streaming home for the Criterion Collection, which will include the Criterion Channel, a new premium service programmed and curated by the Criterion team. Previously, Hulu has had exclusive streaming rights to Criterion’s library since 2011.

The FilmStruck library will carry films from indie studios including Janus Films, Flicker Alley, Icarus, Kino, Milestone and Zeitgeist, along with movies from Warner Bros. and other major studios. The service will be similar to TCM’s cable programming, offering bonus content and commentary for various films. The film selections will include rotating access to more than 1,000 titles from the Janus Films library, many of which are unavailable on DVD or elsewhere, according to Criterion Collection president Peter Becker.

Turner CEO John Martin said last month that the company was prepping the launch of at least two OTT video services in 2016.

“FilmStruck is a terrific example of our strategy to meet consumer demand for great content across all screens,” Martin said. “It’s tailor-made for the diehard movie enthusiast who craves a deep, intimate experience with independent, foreign and arthouse films.”

The FilmStruck service will compete with other indie-film OTT offerings including Fandor and Tribeca Shortlist, a joint venture of Lionsgate and Tribeca Enterprises. It also joins the widening pool of Internet video subscription services available to consumers — without a pay-TV subscription — including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Time Warner’s HBO Now, CBS All Access, Showtime, Starz, NBCUniversal’s Seeso, YouTube Red and Fullscreen.

Other digital forays by Turner include its recent investment in Mashable, under which the media company will have access to both content and audience data, and CNN’s launch of Great Big Story, an online video news hub with clips designed for distribution on social media. Turner, in association with WME-IMG, last year formed eSports league ELeague, which is set to launch in May online and on TBS.

FilmStruck will be powered by iStreamPlanet, a provider of streaming and cloud-based video and technology services. Turner acquired a majority stake in iStreamPlanet last August.

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