We’re just days away from the end of the already-missed FilmStruck, Turner Classic Movies and Criterion Collection’s streaming service dedicated to classic movies, which has become a victim of AT&T’s recent merger with Warner Media. The service will shut down on November 29, with no clear answers from anywhere when or even if you will be able to stream any of these amazing films anywhere else online starting in December. For cinephiles, it is a dark time.

Almost immediately after the news of Filmstruck’s imminent shutdown, a petition was launched at Change.org to try to convince Warners ant AT&T to change their mind. It grew slowly at first, but as I’m writing these words, the petition now has 44,000 signatures and counting. And endorsements keep coming in, from filmmakers ranging from Rian Johnson to Guillermo del Toro and even Barbra Streisand:

This whole situation has forced me to do something I hate: Math. 44,000 people cared enough about FilmStruck to sign this petition. I don’t know how many customers the company had, but even if it was just 44,000, at $10 a pop every single month that’s almost half a million dollars in revenue every 30 days. It is very hard to conceive that this service would not be profitable even with just that many subscribers — which again, seems on the low end of what the service can draw.

That said, that also means this petition is almost certainly a lost cause. 50,000 or 100,000 customers sounds like a lot of movie lovers — but not to a giant company like AT&T that wants to compete with Netflix, which has somewhere in the neighborhood of 140 million subscribers worldwide. Compared to that, FilmStruck is extremely small potatoes — like the crumbs on your plate after you eat an order of hash browns. When Warners announced the end of FilmStruck, they said flat-out that the company wasn’t interested in what they described as “a niche service.”

That suggests to me FilmStruck is beyond saving in its current form. In the eyes of AT&T, 50,000 signatures is a niche. What we need is someone who wants to be in the niche business. I just hope somebody steps up soon.

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