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In a strategic move by WarnerMedia in the wake of its acquisition by AT&T, Turner and Warner Bros. Digital Networks are to shut down the FilmStruck indie film streaming service as of Nov. 29.
“We’re incredibly proud of the creativity and innovations produced by the talented and dedicated teams who worked on FilmStruck over the past two years,” Turner and Warner Bros. said Friday in a statement.
The subscription streaming service operated by Time Warner’s Turner unit offered art house, indie and foreign films by partnering with Warner Bros. Digital Networks to also present classic Hollywood titles from the Warner Bros. film library.
“While FilmStruck has a very loyal fanbase, it remains largely a niche service. We plan to take key learnings from FilmStruck to help shape future business decisions in the direct-to-consumer space and redirect this investment back into our collective portfolios,” the WarnerMedia statement read.
The closure of FilmStruck is not unexpected, as AT&T’s WarnerMedia division is at work on a new direct-to-consumer streaming service that will feature its full portfolio of entertainment brands, including HBO.
A WarnerMedia streaming service will put the company, recently acquired by AT&T, square into the race for streaming audiences alongside Disney, which is currently prepping a family-friendly subscription video service that it plans to bundle with other streaming products ESPN+ and Hulu.
FilmStruck launched in the U.S. in November 2016, offering exclusive streaming access to the art house-oriented Criterion Collection, which moved from Hulu to FilmStruck that year.
The Criterion Collection on its blogsite Friday said it was “disappointed” by the decision to shut down FilmStruck. “When we launched the Criterion Channel in 2016, we had two goals: to ensure that our entire streaming library remained available, and to address our audience in our own voice,” it said.
“We’re proud of the work we’ve done, bringing curated programming and the full range of supplemental features to the streaming space, championing a diverse array of filmmakers from beyond our collection and creating original content that invites you into exciting conversations about cinema culture,” the blog continued.
The Criterion Collection added that it will be looking at ways to get its titles back into the digital space ahead of FilmStruck bowing out in late November.
FilmStruck told current subscribers on its Twitter account to visit the streamer’s website for refund information. “It has been our pleasure bringing FilmStruck to you and we thank you for your support,” the streamer said on its social media site.
In other cuts, Warner Bros. earlier shut the doors on its subscription business DramaFever, which specialized in Korean dramas and other international programming. And Turner Entertainment also shut down its Super Deluxe digital studio soon after Turner owner Time Warner completed its sale to AT&T.
The Warner Archive, which has all of Warner Bros.’ classic films, was also earlier shut down and its titles went to Filmstruck. With Filmstruck to shutter, a spokesperson for Turner said Warner Bros. will retain the rights to the Warner Archive titles.
Oct. 26, 12:30 p.m. Updated with comments by Turner and The Criterion Collection following news that FilmStruck will be shut down.
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