Curia launches organized movie streaming service

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“There is no algorithm here”: Curia aims to bring a human touch to home viewing with curated film collections that change monthly.

We’ve all been there – endlessly scrolling through the hundreds of movies offered to you by the Netflix algorithm – only to come to the conclusion that there is simply nothing to watch. Then to Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video, or one of the other major streaming services, to be faced with the same problem.

What if the solution to the paradoxical problem of too many choices but nothing to watch lay in yes, another streaming service? The team behind a newly launched streamer, Curia, is hoping that could be the case.

Rather than the hundreds of options served by technology, Curia aims to deliver “only the good stuff” by showing around 80 feature films per month in a rotating selection of collections like this month’s New York Stories, featuring “King of New York ”,“ Light Sleeper ”, and eight other films that take viewers through the boroughs and through the decades. For just $ 3.99 per month, Curia aims to be a service that can serve as a compliment to the streaming giants, while never letting its subscribers feel the same as these other more important services.

Curia was launched in July and was founded by Edward Walson, a cable television veteran and producer of theater and films including “Blue Jasmine”. Garrett Weaver, former head of acquisitions for Universal and eOne, and two-decade veteran of SXSW programming, Jarod Neece, leads Curia’s programming efforts.

“The experiment was to remove all analytics, remove anything that keeps you from looking at things like user ratings or scores and other distractions and say, ‘If it’s here, it’s probably worth your time. time, “the content manager said. Tisserand.” We are humans, there is no algorithm here. “

While Curia takes an old-fashioned, people-centric approach in the digital age, there are many trending concepts that suggest that the business model may hold some promise. The idea of ​​browsing fatigue – the feeling of running in place while browsing the endless options available – is easily understood by any internet user. And tackling this head-on is one of the widely cited reasons for the success of specialty supermarket Trader Joe’s: With just a few select choices of a given product category, consumers have an easier time making decisions and believing. that these options are of quality.

Curia currently offers six film collections containing eight to 10 films each. Many include more recent and familiar anchor titles – like “Bowling for Columbine” and “The Truman Show” in a collection centered on the idea of ​​American democracy – as well as older films (“The Parallax View”) and choices under the radar (“Camp X-Ray”). Collections all expire within a certain time frame, recreating the type of “rent or return” paradigm of video store days.

The collections are populated with films licensed from distributors including Paramount, MGM, Lionsgate, IFC Films, 1091, Kino Lorber and A24. In addition, Curia offers a continuous selection of 15 to 25 recent festival selections, as well as around 40 short films.

While some A24 movies are available on Netflix and Hulu offers Searchlight movies, independent, arthouse, and overseas cinema is increasingly being excluded from major streamers, who in recent years have stepped up their in-house production efforts. . Richard Lorber, president and CEO of Kino Lorber, said the streamer deals are important to his company, which has deals with around 20 different OTT platforms.

“We now have 2,000 titles available digitally in our growing catalog of over 4,000 titles. Someone who can take a deep breath and dive deep into this library is sure to find some gems if they are curious about their curation, which [Weaver] is, ”Lorber said. “They seem to have an appetite for a wider selection of content than MUBI, with whom we do a lot, and a different approach from Criterion, with whom we also do a lot. I think they take up a space worth filling as there are so few other options for the great arthouse price – you can’t find them on the major streamers.

Indeed, Weaver considers that Curia occupies a unique space on the market.

“Can you bridge the gap between a Netflix, which is great, super wide, and a Criterion, which is for moviegoers?” He said. “I think there are a lot of people out there who really love movies, but maybe not someone who wants to read a book about it.”

But like Criterion Channel, with its essays and reporting, Curia also has an element of added value: watching films in context.

On Wednesday, Curia launched the first episode of its podcast, “You Had Me at Curia”. In the episode, Ricky Camilleri and Weaver trace the trajectory of New York cinema through the films in the collection, as well as a guest appearance by “King of New York” director Abel Ferrera, who has discussed the making of the 1990 thriller.

The podcast is available here, as well as on Acast, Spotfiy, and Apple Podcasts.

More information about Curia is available on its website.

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