FilmStruck — the online streaming service owned by WarnerMedia that specialized in classic, foreign, “art house,” and Golden Age Hollywood films — will shut down as of November 29, the site announced on Friday. The service was home to the popular Criterion Collection as well as the Warner Bros. library of Hollywood movies dating back to the 1930s and 1940s — such as Casablanca, whose stars Humphrey Bogart and Sydney Greenstreet are pictured in a still from the film at the top of this page.
The service ceased accepting new subscribers on October 26, and sent out a mass email on Friday informing current subscribers that they will no longer be charged their monthly fee. This news comes in advance of the November 29 shuttering of the service, just over two years from FilmStruck’s launch on November 1, 2016, as the Verge reported.
An $85 billion takeover of TimeWarner, parent company of WarnerMedia, by the telecommunications giant AT&T was approved by the United States Justice Department in July, CNN reported. In a twist of fate, CNN — which is also owned by TimeWarner — will also be owned by AT&T.
According to a report on Friday by the entertainment industry trade publication Variety, the shutdown of FilmStruck was decided prior to the telecom’s takeover. “The strategy aligns with the new WarnerMedia blueprint to shift resources to mass-market entertainment services,” Todd Spangler wrote for Variety.
FilmStruck will discontinue service on 11/29/18. If you are a current subscriber, please visit https://t.co/ht0FF065M9 for refund information. It has been our pleasure bringing FilmStruck to you and we thank you for your support. pic.twitter.com/J9lGX23V3Y
— FilmStruck (@FilmStruck) October 26, 2018
The service was jointly operated by two TimeWarner and AT&T subsidiaries, WB Digital Networks and Turner. A spokesperson for Turner would not reveal how many employees would be affected by the shutdown of FilmStruck, according to the Variety report.
“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. While FilmStruck has a very loyal fanbase, it remains largely a niche service,” the companies said in a statement, according to the entertainment site Pitchfork.
AT&T shut down two other “niche” services in the past month. DramaFever, a streaming platform dedicated to Korean “K-Drama” programs, was closed on October 16, Variety reported. The telco also pulled the plug on SuperDeluxe, a mini-studio owned by Turner that produced short-form comedies aimed at millennial-age viewers. That closure came on October 19.
According to the Variety report, AT&T is “looking to eliminate peripheral projects that aren’t major producers of revenue.” FilmStruck apparently fell into that category, though whether the service lost money for the company or simply did not make enough revenue to satisfy the new corporate ownership remains unclear.