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Now Turner wants to sell you a web video service, too

FilmStruck launches this fall. It's for indie movie fans.

Mad Max Films/Getty Images
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Here’s another TV programmer that wants to sell you TV, over the web, without signing up for a pay TV bundle: Time Warner’s Turner is going to launch an on-demand service for movie buffs next fall.

Turner has a name for the service — FilmStruck — and says it will be managed by the people behind its Turner Classic Movies network. It’s supposed to feature an “eclectic mix of contemporary and classic art house, indie, foreign and cult films.”

That means movies like “Seven Samurai,” “A Hard Days Night,” “Blood Simple” and “Mad Max” (the original one, from 1979); many of the titles will come from the Criterion Collection, the art house/indie film curator.*

Turner won’t say exactly when the channel will launch, though, or how much it will cost. It says it’s still focus-grouping the monthly price.

This would have been a very big deal a couple of years ago, when none of the big TV programmers were selling stuff directly to consumers over the web. Now many of them are, including HBO, Showtime, Starz, CBS, NBCUniversal** and ESPN.

Turner itself should have at least one more direct-to-consumers service launching this year, says Turner CEO John Martin.

Martin is still going to make most of his money selling pay TV to distributors like Comcast for years to come. So, like ESPN’s Cricket package and NBCUniversal’s Seeso, the stuff he’s going to sell to consumers isn’t going to compete directly with the stuff he’s selling to the pay TV guys. Most of the movies he’s putting into FilmStruck won’t be available on Turner’s channels.

“We love them,” Martin says of the pay TV distributors. “They pay us a lot of money. We bring them a lot of value.”

* If you want to see Criterion movies right now, head over to Hulu, which has the rights to that catalog until the fall.
** NBCUniversal is a minority investor in Vox Media, which owns this site.

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