Filmstruck SVOD service delayed as Turner tackles sign-up issues

FilmStruck's SVOD catalog will include films by Marcello Mastroianni, among others. Image: Turner

Turner delayed the launch of its much-anticipated new SVOD service, FilmStruck, citing issues with the sign-process that it needs to iron out. The service, which will offer classic movies in partnership with the Criterion Collection, was scheduled to go live Wednesday.

“The launch of FilmStruck is delayed until November as we work to complete a seamless registration process for subscribers,” Turner said in a statement released to the media, first reported by Multichannel News. “We look forward to bringing film fans a premium service with beautifully curated content and the largest streaming library of world-renowned arthouse, indie, cult and foreign films.

FilmStruck is so far the most high-profile streaming service planned by Turner Networks, which said last year that it plans to launch “at least a couple” of online video services. In addition to teaming with Criterion on content, Turner signed a deal with audience measurement startup Canvs to gauge the service’s popularity by monitoring social media platforms.

This isn’t the first time a new SVOD service has had to deal with backoffice billing integration issues. HBO’s over-the-top streaming service, HBO Now, fielded a number of complaints from subscribers in its first several weeks of operation.

RELATED: Turner to launch first SVOD platform, FilmStruck, on Oct. 19

New subscribers to HBO Now who signed up for the service right after it launched in April 2015 said they had trouble signing up, as well as accessing the site if they achieved a successful signup. The service’s website wasn’t much help at the time, with the FAQ telling users to contact their ISP if they experienced buffering issues.

Part of the problem with HBO Now was that its initial launch, which was limited to iOS and Apple TV, relied on Apple’s iTunes in order for users to sign up. That integration was apparently not completely smoothed out in the services early days; users complained of never receiving confirmation emails, for example.

HBO Now’s signup process has improved dramatically since then.

In Turner’s case, delaying FilmStruck’s launch could help it avoid a similar messy sign-up process. Details on FilmStruck’s process weren’t made available, of course, but it’s in the provider’s best interest to make sure that everything goes smoothly for new viewers. With plenty of competition in the older movie space from OTT providers like Crackle and now Vudu, Turner likely can’t afford to frustrate and turn off potential subscribers on day one.