The Criterion Collection Is Leaving Netflix

Illustration for article titled The Criterion Collection Is Leaving Netflix

After ceremoniously becoming bedfellows in 2009, Criterion and Netflix are breaking up and they're cutting Netflix off completely.. On the day after Valentines, no less. This comes after the shocking revelation that Criterion was involved with Hulu, with plans to let it have its entire 800 film fortune. Does this sound like a soap opera to anyone else?

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But Criterion didn't just leave Netflix a woman scorned. It added insult to injury with this zinger:

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.

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Those be fightin' words not seen since an episode of Jerry Springer. Of course, Criterion films won't disappear from Netflix overnight; they'll slowly dwindle down to nothing by the end of the year.

For Hulu, this shows that they're not backing down in the streaming content war. And scoring the ENTIRE Criterion Collection while Netflix loses what they have is a huge win. For Netflix, you have to wonder what they're doing right now on the streaming front. They don't exactly have the newest movies available, because they claim subscribers are content with back catalogs. But then they go and let this happen, losing a chunk of films that's arguably their best, quality-wise.

Congratulations, Hulu. I just found a reason to keep my Plus subscription. [Facebook]

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DISCUSSION

What gets me about this is the whole purpose of The Criterion Collection is to showcase the very best of film with the most pristine picture and audio, coupled with premium extras like never-before-seen deleted scenes and audio commentary tracks and specially-created artwork. Moving it to a streaming service, while nice, makes little sense as those who are really into the Criterion Collection movies are the video/audiophiles who all have the highest quality equipment and would never trust a compressed, lossy internet-based stream of these movies and most likely already own these. Yes, there are some that are not found anywhere else, and I can see this being a huge boon for Hulu Plus, but movies like Dazed and Confused, pretty much all the Wes Anderson flicks, and other more recent movies that have been given the CC treatment have either been available in the past or are currently available for streaming on Netflix using the regular DVD version.