New art house film streaming service OVID.TV could fill void left by FilmStruck

OVID's initial content partners include Bullfrog Films, Distrib Films US, First Run Features (pictured), Grasshopper Film, Icarus Films and KimStim. (First Run Features)

A new subscription streaming service, OVID.TV, specializing in art house, documentary, and social issue films could help fill the void left after Turner shuttered FilmStruck last year.

OVID.TV is launching in March 2019. It’s a collaborative effort by six founding content partners: Bullfrog Films, Distrib Films US, First Run Features, Grasshopper Film, Icarus Films and KimStim. The partners will pool their content on OVID.TV to build a lineup of thousands of films—including documentaries, independent films and international cinema—which the companies said are not yet available to stream.

“The time for this kind of partnership is now, as the streaming giants focus on generating fast-turnaround new content, this coalition will offer new access to high-quality catalogs found nowhere else, featuring some of the most celebrated filmmakers and films in the canon,” said Icarus Films’ Jonathan Miller, who will serve as director of OVID.TV in the U.S.

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At launch, the service will focus primarily on offering documentaries. Beginning in the summer, the company said it will add hundreds of art house feature films.

RELATED: From the ashes of FilmStruck rises the Criterion Channel streaming service

By focusing on art house and independent films, OVID is filling a niche left open by the closure of FilmStruck in 2018. Turner made the decision to shut down FilmStruck on Nov. 29 and implied that the service’s appeal was too narrow.

“While FilmStruck has a very loyal fanbase, it remains largely a niche service. We plan to take key learnings from FilmStruck to help shape future business decisions in the direct-to-consumer space and redirect this investment back into our collective portfolios,” Turner said in a statement.

Not long after FilmStruck announced its closure, Criterion Channel announced that it would be launching its own streaming service. The Criterion Channel is planning a spring 2019 launch and will be priced at $10.99 per month or $100 per year after a 30-day free trial. Right now, the service is allowing users to become charter subscribers and lock in a reduced rate of $9.99 per month or $89.99 a year.

Criterion said its streaming service will continue features from its FilmStruck channel including director spotlights and actor retrospectives with special features like commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage, and original documentaries.

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