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Criterion Collection to launch standalone SVOD service

The Criterion Collection is due to launch its own standalone streaming service in spring 2019, following news that Filmstruck, the SVOD service it helped to develop, will close later this month.

The Criterion Channel will be wholly owned and controlled by the Criterion Collection and is due to launch initially in the US and Canada, with rollouts to other territories due to follow over time.

Through a special arrangement with WarnerMedia, the Criterion Collection library will also be offered via WarnerMedia’s recently announced direct-to-consumer platform when it launches in the fourth quarter of 2019.

In a statement, the Criterion Collection said that the Criterion Channel will pick up where Filmstruck left off, offering Hollywood and international movies, hard-to-find titles from around the world, and special features like commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage and original documentaries.

“We’ve been trying to make something a little different for the past two years – a movie lover’s dream streaming service, with smart thematic programming, where the history of cinema can live and breathe,” said the company.

WarnerMedia said that, by supplementing its own extensive film library with the Criterion Collection for its forthcoming movie service, it will provide a “rich and curated experience, which will further expand the audience footprint for these classic and acclaimed movies.”

The news comes after Turner and Warner Bros.-owned streaming service, FilmStruck, announced last month that it would cease domestic and international operations from November 29.

In a statement announcing the closure, Turner said that “while FilmStruck has a very loyal fanbase, it remains largely a niche service.”

Filmstruck was the exclusive streaming home of Criterion Collection movies in the US, where it launched in 2016. Earlier this year Filmstruck also rolled out in Europe for the first time – in the UK in February and then France and Spain in May.