On November 29, WarnerMedia will shut down FilmStruck, a streaming service for classic films. While Filmstruck had some devoted fans, ultimately WarnerMedia didn’t think it was popular enough as the company streamlines operations under new corporate parent AT&T.

For the folks who did love FilmStruck, the news is indisputably a bummer. But as with so many other happenings in the world of cord-cutting, we’re now seeing some observers turn this story into a broader–and mostly bogus–indictment of streaming video as a vessel for classic films. In fact, streaming video will make classic films more accessible than ever.

A Los Angeles Times story this week is a good example (though not the only one) of the concern over FilmStruck’s demise. Arguing that “Hollywood’s march toward streaming will erase movie history,” Ryan Faughnder lamented how streaming services are neglecting the classics as they focus on “new, buzz-worthy content.”

The story gets off to a rough start, leading with a factually inaccurate anecdote about filmmaker Evan Koehne inviting some film buffs over to watch the 1979 sci-fi film Stalker. Faughnder writes that the gathering “wouldn’t have been possible” without FilmStruck, yet a simple Google search reveals that Stalker is a $4 HD rental on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, and Google Play Movies. That’s less than a subscription to FilmStruck’s $11 per month Criterion Collection plan.

Faughnder’s broader point isn’t about rentals, though. His main argument is that subscription services like Netflix and Hulu aren’t so interested in stocking and recommending old films, because they’d rather focus on original series that attract new subscribers.

Yet that claim also gets undermined later in the piece, when WarnerMedia gets a chance to comment:

A spokesperson for WarnerMedia said the company expects Criterion Collection films will have a place in its upcoming streaming service, which will include films and TV shows from HBO, Turner and Warner Bros. Warner’s deep film library is part of what attracted AT&T to the Warner Bros. properties.

If anything, WarnerMedia’s new plan will be better at introducing old films to younger audience. At $11 per month (or $7 per month without Criterion Collection films), FilmStruck appealed only to a small audience of people who were already inclined to watch old films. Bundling with HBO shows, newer movies, and other Turner content will expose those classics to people who otherwise wouldn’t pay for FilmStruck in the first place. (Maybe Faughnder’s real argument is that it’s too bad hardcore film buffs will have to pay a bit more for WarnerMedia’s service, but that’s at odds with his platitudes about getting young folks to discover the oldies.)

Besides, FilmStruck isn’t the only streaming service of its kind. Fandor and Mubi continue to offer curated selections of classic and newer films with an artistic bent, while Kanopy and Hoopla stream classic movies (and more) for free with a library card. Some ad-supported streaming services, such as TubiTV, even offer classic films with no strings attached.





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