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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:02 am 
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MOD NOTE: For discussion of Criterion's latest streaming efforts, please go to the Filmstruck thread

Here is Peter Becker's official writings on Criterion's new Hulu Plus subscription offerings.

A Long Time Coming


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:13 am 

Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2008 7:47 pm
Lot's of interesting new acquisitions already up. For instance, I don't know that Criterion would have licensed I Was a Teenage Zombie from IFC just to stream on Hulu...


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:32 am 
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I'd love to be a fly on the wall at the Mubi offices today.


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 Post subject: Re: Criterion on Hulu
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:19 pm 
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The writing has been on the wall that Criterion's relationship with The Auteurs/Mubi was coming to an end, as they have gradually transitioned their website away from the design that The Auteurs originally set up for them and removed the links to discussions on The Auteurs forum. As of today, most traces of that are gone. This is clearly the nail in the coffin.


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 Post subject: Re: Criterion on Hulu
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:14 pm 
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Mubi has such a ridiculous set-up that they were begging for failure and have no problems with people sharing the fact they torrent their whole library without a bit of shame. Mubi charges $3 dollars per film plus $1 for any shorts (including the one-minute long Jan Svankmejer short, Meat Love). Hulu is $7 dollars for a 150 Criterion titles (many not on DVD).

Mubi shot themselves in the foot with their crazy pricing system and for sticking with mostly strictly art film titles. There are no medians in that site. And when they premiered their PS3 streaming system, new members would show up confused that there are so many films listed on the site that are available for viewing. Then there were subsequent posts by new members saying things to the effect "Why can't I watch 'True Lies' on this site?" and with someone responding "Why not try 'Tropical Malady' instead?" type of posts. It's totally alienating to someone who isn't really a fanatic of cinema. Established classics or more Hollywood fare are easily viewable on Netflix and Hulu, thus more accessible to the average viewer who could eventually dip their toes in a little more off-the-wall cinema.


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 Post subject: Re: Criterion on Hulu
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:24 pm 
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According to Wei's blog post, Melville's Le Silence de la Mer and Clouzot's L’Assassin Habite au 21, as well as Chaplin's City Lights (which was well known to be forthcoming). I'd be surprised these were only going to be available on Hulu and not appear eventually as Criterion releases. It appears Criterion must've fessed up to them tons of forthcoming releases that they haven't revealed publicly yet.


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 Post subject: Re: Criterion on Hulu
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:46 pm 
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Tribe wrote:
Melville's Le Silence de la Mer

This is coming out on BluRay in France very soon, so it seems like a safe bet.


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 Post subject: Re: Criterion on Hulu
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:49 pm 
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Very nice to see some of the Eclipse titles available.


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 Post subject: Re: Criterion on Hulu
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:07 pm 
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Tribe wrote:
According to Wei's blog post, Melville's Le Silence de la Mer and Clouzot's L’Assassin Habite au 21, as well as Chaplin's City Lights (which was well known to be forthcoming). I'd be surprised these were only going to be available on Hulu and not appear eventually as Criterion releases. It appears Criterion must've fessed up to them tons of forthcoming releases that they haven't revealed publicly yet.

Not to mention "early shorts by Chaplin" (presumably the First Nationals?) and "the extended filmography of Kenji Mizoguchi"- I really hope this is a signifier of forthcoming releases, and not some strange indicator that those are things they have and won't bother releasing.


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 Post subject: Re: Criterion on Hulu
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:27 pm 
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So, does this mean they may put Naruse's filmography up to see what may sell?


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 Post subject: Re: Criterion on Hulu
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:19 pm 
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I think any unreleased foreign films put up on hulu are indicative that the titles are at least under strong consideration for release, probably on an official schedule as 'will be released' but not yet assigned a production/release date internally. Because putting a foreign language film online probably means criterion has already commissioned a translation. If silent films are on the table, criterion will probably have had to commission both a translation (if foreign) as well as a score. I expect that to be a limiting factor on foreign silents being released on Hulu.

Unreleased English language films could be put online without needing to allocate any company resources other than encoding the QT Hulu master and the upload-to-Hulu time.

For Hulu, Criterion won't in theory need to make new telecines. Like eclipse they can simply request clones of the tape masters from whomever they license the title from and spit out a master QT for hulu just by digitizing the tape to their server/unity or by using a QT broadcaster type of program that encodes the tape to QT as the tape plays back.

I think there should probably be a new forum section for Hulu exclusives. With an intent to expand the criterion section of Hulu+ to 800 titles It sounds as though there are going to be a lot of films available that will not be available on disc. If films are announced for disc later on, the topics could then be moved from Hulu to the appropriate eclipse or Criterion collection forums.


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 Post subject: Re: Criterion on Hulu
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:24 pm 
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Via CHUD:

Jon Mulvaney wrote:
Dear Jeremy,

Thanks for your email!

Hulu will have exclusive streaming rights to our films and so all of the films that are currently on Netflix streaming will be down by the end of the year.

We love Netflix, and they are still one of Criterion’s most important partners, but Hulu demonstrated a real commitment to the Criterion brand that persuaded us they would be the better home base for our streaming efforts. It has never been easy to find Criterion movies on Netflix — “Criterion” is not even a searchable term there. Compare that with Hulu’s willingness to develop a whole area of their site around us, brand the films associated with us, and develop the capability to show many of our supplements alongside our films. The energetic, independent, creative team at Hulu was willing to build their business around us in a way that just wasn’t in the cards anywhere else.

We will continue to support Netflix on the package goods side and continue to work with them to provide DVD and BD copies of the films we release.

I hope this information is helpful! Please let me know if you have any more questions and thanks for supporting Criterion!

Best,

Jon Mulvaney


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 Post subject: Re: Criterion on Hulu
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:28 pm 
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I wish it weren't an exclusive arrangement. As much as Hulu's co-branding deal would be tempting, it seems pretty messed up that CC would be willing to lock their content out of Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, Mubi, etc.

I mean, it's as if you had four video stores in your neighborhood with monthly membership fees, and some of the more important DVD companies had exclusive arrangements with each.

Except in this case, they each have their own set of devices they play on.

Do you suppose Chris and DVD Beaver will start reviewing and comparing Hulu versions of Criterion releases?


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 Post subject: Re: Criterion on Hulu
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:41 pm 
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Jun-Dai wrote:
I mean, it's as if you had four video stores in your neighborhood with monthly membership fees, and some of the more important DVD companies had exclusive arrangements with each.

You lost me at "video store".


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 Post subject: Re: Criterion on Hulu
PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:15 am 
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I do love the fuck off to netflix in that letter though. It seems that just as angry as us about not stocking up on the physical product.


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 Post subject: Re: Criterion on Hulu
PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:19 am 
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Jun-Dai wrote:
Do you suppose Chris and DVD Beaver will start reviewing and comparing Hulu versions of Criterion releases?

No.


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 Post subject: Re: Criterion on Hulu
PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:42 am 
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Guido wrote:
Jun-Dai wrote:
I mean, it's as if you had four video stores in your neighborhood with monthly membership fees, and some of the more important DVD companies had exclusive arrangements with each.

You lost me at "video store".

Okay, the analogy was stupid. I'm just annoyed at the idea that not having access to Hulu means not having access to Criterion streaming. It's slightly more retarded than region-locking, which is already very retarded.

The world of streaming has become a bizarre matrix of devices, formats, and subscriptions that make PAL/NTSC and Cable subscription plans seem sane and reasonable by comparison.


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 Post subject: Re: Criterion on Hulu
PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:54 am 
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Sorry if my comment came off as obtuse or confrontational, Jun-Dai - it was simply meant as a stupid joke :D Has any comment surfaced from a Criterion rep on the subject of Hulu's non-availability in other countries?


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 Post subject: Re: Criterion on Hulu
PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:00 am 
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Is there really any need for Criterion to clarify that their distribution rights are for North America, which explains why it makes sense for them to work with an online distributor that only licenses content to the United States and its overseas territories?


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 Post subject: Re: Criterion on Hulu
PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:20 am 
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I get the US vs. non-US bit. As much as I dislike it, it's obviously out of Criterion's hands, and I don't see that problem going away any time soon.


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 Post subject: Re: Criterion on Hulu
PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:25 am 
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Tom Hagen wrote:
Is there really any need for Criterion to clarify that their distribution rights are for North America, which explains why it makes sense for them to work with an online distributor that only licenses content to the United States and its overseas territories?

I'd like to know what they think about excluding the top half of the continent they have distribution rights for, ie. why am I not invited to the party?


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 Post subject: Re: Criterion on Hulu
PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:38 am 
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That is a legitimate question. I can only assume that they determined that the royalties from Hulu exclusivity outweighed any alternative distribution structure that would have included other North American consumers. Or perhaps Hulu may be expanding in the near future.


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 Post subject: Re: Criterion on Hulu
PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:04 pm 
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Hulu is using (and obviously paying) Criterion to allow its library to become a loss-leader, the luxury vehicle model to complement it's regular fleet of cars (i.e. the other stuff it shows) and attract a new, different clientele. I know subscribing to Hulu Plus wasn't even in my mind, but now that they offer Criterion movies (especially the unreleased one's) at the very least I'm tempted to subscribe. If the numbers from Hulu add-up to the same or more than what Netflix Streaming was bringing (with the additional benefit of getting your rear-end kissed by a suitor that treats you nice and promises to prop and support your image) then it's worth losing Canadian viewers (they'll get the discs... eventually!) and standing out from the crowd.

Ironically, this NY Times/GigaOM.com headline sums up my thoughts on the crazy streaming business: As Netflix Goes After TV Fans, Hulu Chases Movie Buffs.


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 Post subject: Re: Criterion on Hulu
PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:25 pm 

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dad1153 wrote:
Hulu is using (and obviously paying) Criterion to allow its library to become a loss-leader, the luxury vehicle model to complement it's regular fleet of cars (i.e. the other stuff it shows) and attract a new, different clientele. I know subscribing to Hulu Plus wasn't even in my mind, but now that they offer Criterion movies (especially the unreleased one's) at the very least I'm tempted to subscribe.

I'm quite disappointed with Criterion's decision to take the payout rather than considering their loyal customers. Clearly Netflix has a huge subscription base compared to Hulu Plus which is even more significant when you consider that Hulu Plus is more TV-centric and Netflix more film-centric. It irks me that Criterion thinks we are stupid with this bit about "branding" or working relationships etc. It's about the MONEY. Obviously, Hulu Plus is paying for the privilege of the exclusive arrangement while multiple arrangements were in the best interest of the customer. It's that simple. Thanks Criterion. The real message was received.


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 Post subject: Re: Criterion on Hulu
PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:37 pm 
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There hasn't ever even been that much of the Collection up on Netflix Instant, has there? Also, screw Netflix.


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