CINE-DEBATE: Criterion Partners With Hulu Plus, No More Netflix?

This morning, some news went public that at first might seem like no big deal—unless you dig into it a touch deeper.

The Criterion Collection‘s Peter Becker just announced a new partnership with Hulu Plus to make the Criterion catalog immediately available for streaming at http://www.hulu.com/criterion. And over at Hulu, their SVP of Audience Eugene Wei weighed in as well. At the moment, 150 or so films are ours for the taking, but it sounds like Criterion is making a solid push to up that number dramatically sooner than later. Even better: they are determined to make their yummy supplements available too.

Nothing crazy there, right? Well, not exactly. Though Becker doesn’t mention it in his release, instead choosing to focus his positive attention on the new partnership at hand, something ought to catch your eye if you go to Hulu’s Criterion page, in which they describe the union as such:

The Complete Criterion Collection only on Hulu Plus.

Notice that word in the middle there: ONLY. Which can *only* mean one thing: Criterion is no longer making their content available through Netflix Streaming?

If this is, in fact, the case, I personally think this is a very big deal. I’ve been guilty of bowing down to Netflix at every opportunity, assuming that they are untouchable gods who have been able to consistently dictate the terms of how the home video streaming business should operate. And while I don’t know the reasons for Criterion’s split with Netflix Streaming—perhaps Hulu Plus’s financial offer was too good to pass up, perhaps Netflix wasn’t presenting statistics and offering reimbursement based on individual streams, perhaps (insert a perhaps more intelligent idea here, dear reader)—the mere fact that customers will no longer be able to stream Criterion titles on Netflix puts a somewhat glaring chink in Netflix’s armor. At least to this uninformed consumer.

Up to this point, Hulu has been a major force in the realm of original television content. As I personally don’t keep up with TV shows on a consistent basis, I honestly haven’t found myself visiting Hulu very often. But I mean it when I say that if the above is true, I might actually consider giving Hulu Plus a try. I have a Roku box, which is how I do my Netflix Streaming, and Hulu Plus is on there as well. For a 7/8 dollar monthly subscription, it just might be a worthwhile thing to consider. Though at this stage, I can’t see myself ever canceling my Netflix subscription.

What do you guys think? As this as big of a deal as it seems to me? Can anyone shed any actual factual statistical light on the situation? That might help all of us to better process this unexpected turn of events.

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