AT&T’s WarnerMedia is to launch a standalone streaming channel for The Criterion Collection, a library of classic and arthouse films popular among cinephiles. The move is effectively a reversal of is decision announced three weeks ago to shutter FilmStruck, its two-year old streaming service that prominently featured The Criterion Collection, as well as the library of Turner Classic Movies. At the time, WarnerMedia parent company AT&T categorized Filmstruck as one of its “sub-scale direct-to-consumer efforts” whose library, including The Criterion Collection, would eventually be incorporated into the new streaming service WarnerMedia plans to launch next year that will include a wide array of programs including content from HBO.
The FilmStruck closure sparked a campaign by cinephiles, filmmakers and producers, including Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, who signed on to a letter sent to executives at WarnerMedia urging them to save FilmStruck, according to the Hollywood Reporter. WarnerMedia’s quick change of mind is an indicator of the realities AT&T is facing as it tries to bring its cost-cutting mindset to Hollywood.