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Turner to Go OTT With ‘FilmStruck’

Turner has set a fall launch for FilmStruck, a subscription VOD service for film aficionados.

FilmStruck, Turner’s first direct-to-consumer OTT service for the U.S., was developed and managed by Turner Classic Movies in partnership with the Criterion Collection.

Word of FilmStruck comes a little over a month after Turner chairman and CEO John Martin announced that the company planned to enter the direct-to-consumer business with a couple of products by the end of 2016.

Turner said the ad-free offering will feature a comprehensive and constantly refreshed library of films made up of “an eclectic mix of contemporary and classic art house, indie, foreign and cult films.”

FilmStruck will serve as the exclusive streaming home for the Criterion Collection, which will include the Criterion Channel, a new premium service programmed and curated by the Criterion team, Turner said. 

Turner said FilmStruck's library will  include films from  indie studios such as Janus Films, Flicker Alley, Icarus, Kino, Milestone and Zeitgeist, along with films from major movie studios including Warner Bros. Films on tap include 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, among others. 

Pricing for FilmStruck is still being determined, “but it will be competitively priced to other streaming movie services in the marketplace,” a Turner official said.

Notably, Fullcube, a startup that’s developed technology that helps partners integrate and automate subscription-based OTT and digital offerings, announced last month that it would be involved in a new multi-tiered digital product involving TCM.

Update: It was revealed Wednesday (April 27) that the programmer is working with Fullcube on TCM Backlot, a new fan club that offers exclusive content, contests for on-set tours, and other perks and benefits. 

Turner, which acquired iStreamPlanet last year, said FilmStruck ties into a broader strategy to “innovate beyond the traditional television ecosystem,” noting the formation of ELEAGUE, its new eSports League with WME|IMG set to launch this summer, and its recent investment in Mashable.

"At Turner, we are dedicated to engaging fans wherever they are, and we're investing aggressively in content, new capabilities and new businesses to achieve that goal,"Martin said, in a statement. FilmStruck is a terrific example of our strategy to meet consumer demand for great content across all screens. It's tailor-made for the diehard movie enthusiast who craves a deep, intimate experience with independent, foreign, and art house films. And it takes advantage of TCM's powerful curation capabilities, as well as its proven track record in building a long-term relationship with passionate film fans."

"TCM is leading Turner's strategic move into the direct-to-consumer business with a truly differentiated and distinct streaming product that adds tremendous value to our portfolio," added Coleman Breland, president of TCM and Turner Content Distribution. "Together with our partners at the Criterion Collection, we are creating a must-have, premium film brand that will draw from the most celebrated movie libraries in the world."