Cinema aficionados, rejoice (just try to keep it down for the folks at Netflix, they're probably not feeling so hot today). Hulu and The Criterion Collection have just announced their exclusive partnership that will deliver 800 of Criterion's classic and acclaimed titles and a little slice of cinema history heaven to all Hulu Plus subscribers.
Starting today, 100 titles will be available as as time goes on that number will creep toward the 800 title promise. Some of the films that will find themselves at the fingertips of Hulu Plus users are films that have never been released on DVD or Blu-ray as well as the accompanying special features like director's cuts, deleted scenes, commentaries and behind-the-scene documentaries. In case you're not super familiar with the Criterion collection, it's home to essential titles from film greats like Orson Welles, Jean-Luc Godard, Wes Anderson, Terry Gilliam, Alfred Hitchcock, Gus Van Sant, and Laurence Olivier to name a few (seriously, their list of prolific directors is massive and unparalleled). To help the Criterion newbies out, Hulu will also periodically host free ad-supported, specifically-curated film lineups from Criterion.
Having this content suddenly become this available is a huge gift to any movie fan. The only people who serve to lose here are the folks at Netflix because this is a huge victory in the battle for the streaming online content crown. Hulu, who launched their service long after Netflix hooked film fans with their instant version, now has a hook that no film buff can ignore. This could be bad for Netflix, or it could just mean that we'll see a whole slew of folks with two instant access subscriptions which is likely where I'll find myself.