This morning the news blared out across the land that The Criterion Collection –the best friend of every cineaste– would be exclusively sharing their entire library on Hulu Plus. This means more than 800 of the best transfers of the best films of all time will soon be available to stream for a mere $7.99 a month (plus all the other benefits of the service, though they pale in comparison). This came as quite a shock, as Criterion has been slowly releasing more and more of their library onto Netflix’s Instant Watch service over the last year.

Many have speculated about what this means for Criterion titles that are already housed on Instant Watch, but we can now confirm that their titles will be down by the end of the year, and Criterion’s films will return to being available by disc only from Netflix. Our own Jeremy Butler was sharp enough to get quick word from Criterion’s own Jon Mulvaney on the subject…

Dear Jeremy,

Thanks for your email!

Hulu will have exclusive streaming rights to our films and so all of the films that are currently on Netflix streaming will be down by the end of the year.

We love Netflix, and they are still one of Criterion’s most important partners, but Hulu demonstrated a real commitment to the Criterion brand that persuaded us they would be the better home base for our streaming efforts. 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. The energetic, independent, creative team at Hulu was willing to build their business around us in a way that just wasn’t in the cards anywhere else.

We will continue to support Netflix on the package goods side and continue to work with them to provide DVD and BD copies of the films we release.

I hope this information is helpful! Please let me know if you have any more questions and thanks for supporting Criterion!

Best,

Jon Mulvaney

So that seals it- Criterion has made the full migration and single-handedly made Hulu Plus a must-have service. The homepage for Criterion can be found here, which will lead you to the 150+ titles that have already been ported over, with the full catalog arriving within the coming months. Already one can see what Jon means about a dedication to the brand- the homepage is quite convenient and much nicer than having to use third-party list sites to run-down which Criterion films are on Instant Watch. With the added bonus of accessible special features, this looks to be a delightful partnership- as long as picture quality stays as high as possible.

Hulu’s announcement can be read here.

Let us know what you think in this shift between services in the comments below, or on the boards. Is this enough to make you start with Hulu Plus? Is Netflix in any danger, now that they’ve lost a very important feather in their cap?