Reporter covering the business of entertainment in the U.S. and beyond
This image released by Turner Classic Movies shows FilmStruck, a subscription streaming service displayed on multiple devices. FilmStruck is shut…
On Friday morning, Warner Media announced that it was shutting down FilmStruck, the classic-movies service that had garnered a hardcore following in its two years of existence.
City noon that had spoken after. And it was angry.
“Nothing but contempt for the Mr. Potters who are shutting down FilmStruck, ” wrote the New Yorker journalist Richard Brody, a part of an uncharacteristically near-unanimous reaction from the loose aggregation of movie pros and pundits known as Film Twitter.
FilmStruck was launched in November 2016 as an initiative of Turner Classic Movies. The idea was not only to aggregate a wide range of films from vaunted libraries including the Criterion Collection and Janus Films (“Spartacus,” “8/12,” “The 39 Steps” and modern classics such as “Mullholland Drive” were available) , but also to provide a curated experience of commentary and recommendations.
Turner and WB Digital Networks released a statement saying that they “were incredibly proud of the creativity and innovations produced by the talented and dedicated teams who worked on FilmStruck over the past two years. “
That prompted responses from such high-profile users as Rian Johnson, the director of” Star Wars: The Last Jedi. “” FilmStruck was too good to last. I see it sadly floating away from the charred wasteland that is 2018, Lorax style, “Johnson tweeted shortly after the announcement.” Barry Jenkins, director of the best picture-winning “Moonlight,” was similarly unnerved.
And grass-roo ts fans did not mask their displeasure. “Terrible, terrible, terrible. The service barely got a chance to find its footing before the suits pulled the plug “from fans, one wrote.
User numbers were not available – Warner Media says they were not high – but fans of the service were ardent in their Love. Many said it was the only streaming service to which they would subscribe, while others noted they would happily pay more than the $ 11 monthly or $ 99 annual fee to subscribe.
Warner Media did not explain the shutdown but suggested that the fact at the service did not appeal more broadly was a big factor. “While FilmStruck has a very loyal fan base, it remains largely a niche service,” said it in the statement announcing the shutdown.
Given that the company, under new owner AT & T, has mandated that HBO gets more into the volume business and Also recently shut down the quirky-comedy digital service SuperDeluxe, the move is not exactly surprising.
But it’s telling, and it undermines what has been a key assumption about streaming since its launch – and even foretells waves of bigger, more corporate-minded changes to come.
From the start of the era of original content on streaming services a little over five years ago with Netflix’s “House of Cards,” one major supposition has undergirded it: that the niche can and will survive. Tanken er at tradisjonell underholdning trenger markedsføring og distribusjon av bandbredde (og kostnader), og derfor krever det typisk en bred forbrugerbase. Men streamingens omkostninger er langt lavere, og dets evne til at finde en publikum er meget lettere og skarper – en seismograf i stedet for en øre til jorden. So bring on the niche.
Niche and high quality are not always synonymous, of course. Men de går ofte sammen, excellence unmoored fra de store salgsnummer. For years, commercial Hollywood has tried, uneasily, to provide both at the same time. The argument behind streaming – not just FilmStruck but other services, and dozens of Netflix shows – was that it did not need to. Det kan gå for høj kvalitet uden hensyn til bredbaserede hits.
Det er hvordan forbrugerne endte med en så bred sang eller gode-men-ofte-quirky shows. Sure, occasionally a “Stranger Things” broke out of the Netflix streaming pack. Men mere, en “Santa Clarita Diet” blev nestled smukt inden for det.
Den nye fase af streaming, med virksomheder som Disney-dykking i via ejendomme som Marvel, will be different.
The franchise model, which has permeated traditional entertainment, is coming this way. And it’s a tsunami that could wash out much of what came before. Indeed, Warner Media plans its own service next year. Clearly, the likes of FilmStruck and SuperDeluxe are not part of it.
If the move evokes the end of many tech-based eras that ended in a wash of corporate dominance, it should: For many, the move conjured past switches, which include the text-based Internet giving way to the moment of Yahoo, AOL and other big brands, or high-quality journalism sites consolidating in favor of video and their ad-rich memes.
“Filmstruck’s official statement about its shutdown reads Similarly, we’ve found that while we have some loyal human users, the algorithm shows that what our customers really want is to be railroaded with stupid [hogwash] nobody actually likes. “It’s the next phase of pivoting,” wrote The former Vice and MTV contributor Kaleb Horton.
Next month Netflix will launch the final season of “House of Cards.” The past five years have brought a gusher of high-quality programming that entertainment has seen just a few times in its hist ory, if that. Ingen tvivl, gode og interessante shows vil fortsætte med at blive lavet af nye tjenester, og virksomheder vil finde måder at tilbyde dyb biblioteker til lave, alt-du-kan-spise priser.