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TCM Inner Circle disappearing


Davehat
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I received an email that the TCM IC is ending.  Memberships will be merged into the Warner Brothers A-list community.  I stopped using Inner Circle several months ago, so don’t really care.

Anybody disappointed by this news?

 

 

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13 minutes ago, Davehat said:

I received an email that the TCM IC is ending.  Memberships will be merged into the Warner Brothers A-list community.  I stopped using Inner Circle several months ago, so don’t really care.

Anybody disappointed by this news?

 

 

I received the same email today.    I'm somewhat disappointed since the focus on the IC was strictly TCM.     But as discussed when I received their last survey  (as well as previous ones),   where it appeared TCM was trying to gauge how much we used other related services (like TCM Streaming,  and TCM's partnership with HBO),  it looks like WB is trying to move users to these other platforms.    Could that be because TCM as a cable stations days are numbered? 

If so,  that would be disappointing news.

 

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18 minutes ago, Davehat said:

I received an email that the TCM IC is ending.  Memberships will be merged into the Warner Brothers A-list community.  I stopped using Inner Circle several months ago, so don’t really care.

Anybody disappointed by this news?

 

 

No, it never really amounted to anything.

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19 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I received the same email today.    I'm somewhat disappointed since the focus on the IC was strictly TCM.     But as discussed when I received their last survey  (as well as previous ones),   where it appeared TCM was trying to gauge how much we used other related services (like TCM Streaming,  and TCM's partnership with HBO),  it looks like WB is trying to move users to these other platforms.    Could that be because TCM as a cable stations days are numbered? 

If so,  that would be disappointing news.

 

I agree, I'm a bit disappointed as it was TCM specific.  I always answered the surveys in the hope that was a little signal to TCM that their fans are still out here.  I gave my two cents but who knows how much it really mattered.   I don't see signing up for the new "Warner Bros. A-List Community."  

As you said, I hope this doesn't foreshadow the future of TCM as a cable station.   

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I got the same thing and all I could think was that the specific identities of all the "Warner Media" networks (TCM, TBS, TNT, etc.) are now being absorbed into the monolith which is "Warner Media."  When they took the TCM website and turned it into a carbon copy of any other networks's website (and the website lost all of its wonderful TCM'ness) I knew we were headed down this path.  Where it will take us is anyone's guess.

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29 minutes ago, Peebs said:

I agree, I'm a bit disappointed as it was TCM specific.  I always answered the surveys in the hope that was a little signal to TCM that their fans are still out here.  I gave my two cents but who knows how much it really mattered.   I don't see signing up for the new "Warner Bros. A-List Community."  

As you said, I hope this doesn't foreshadow the future of TCM as a cable station.   

The main benefit for me was that you could tell where things were headed based on the questions they would ask and the way in which they were asked.  It gave you some insight as to what they're planning.

As far as TCM's days being numbered, I think that's a given, as the existing cable model where cable networks can command payments from TV providers just for carrying their signal (based on number of subscribers the TV provider has) is likely unsustainable in the long term.    Younger folks want the convenience of watching everything on demand rather than waiting for it to be scheduled for air.

The question is how much longer will it last as a standalone cable station?  5 years?  10 years?  I'm pretty sure the TCM brand will just get folded into HBOMax eventually.

 

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I got it too. People and things are of their time. Like the great stars and the studio system.  At some point TCM as we know it will morph into some other venue or format.

If you think about it, when TCM started it was relatively hard to find rare movies to see. Guaranteeing a steady rise in viewership. Now nearly all those movies are omnipresent through streaming, home video formats and downloads.

The only thing that makes TCM different from other movie channels are the hosts, some dedicated programming and a cult-like following. The only other channel similar was AMC.  To paraphrase Biffle and Shooster... Need I say more?

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Wow, did this suddenly get depressing.

I guess the next question is what would one pay per month for a streaming version of TCM that was essentially the same, and are there enough people who would pay to justify it.

To echo what Yancey said, TCM now seems unique on the list of cable channels in offering some consistent enhancement of content, with the material provided by the hosts and the organization of the schedule into themes.  Most other channels are just the shows with nothing extra.  So it’s easy to convert them into a library that can be called upon at any time, with the occasional addition and subtraction of available items and a few exclusives.  But a library of movies by themselves would be boring compared to what TCM offers today.

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2 hours ago, cmovieviewer said:

I guess the next question is what would one pay per month for a streaming version of TCM that was essentially the same, and are there enough people who would pay to justify it.

This is the kind of thing they would fish for in their surveys...

 

2 hours ago, cmovieviewer said:

Most other channels are just the shows with nothing extra.  So it’s easy to convert them into a library that can be called upon at any time, with the occasional addition and subtraction of available items and a few exclusives.  But a library of movies by themselves would be boring compared to what TCM offers today.

The closest thing that comes to it in the streaming world right now is The Criterion Channel.   They don't have hosted intros and such, but they do have "bonus" material, similar to what you might find on one of their discs.

 

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19 hours ago, lydecker said:

I got the same thing and all I could think was that the specific identities of all the "Warner Media" networks (TCM, TBS, TNT, etc.) are now being absorbed into the monolith which is "Warner Media."  When they took the TCM website and turned it into a carbon copy of any other networks's website (and the website lost all of its wonderful TCM'ness) I knew we were headed down this path.  Where it will take us is anyone's guess.

This is probably associated with TCM being absorbed into AT&T. That is why Filmstruck went away, why George Feltenstein was fired, it is probably why TCM doesn't bother to put the time of the next movie up and instead puts "NEXT" and "LATER". I don't know if the weekend hosts are casualties too, but if they are AT&T is at the bottom of it.  Huge corporations usually have five  characteristics:

1. Happy stock holders.

2. Happy top executives feeding from the corporate trough.

3. Disgruntled employees

4. Dissatisfied customers.

5. A product that is increasingly generic and overpriced. 

So that is what I expect to happen to TCM. Somebody said  about some other aspect of TCM being downgraded that "Robert Osborne would never have let this happen." He would have had no choice in the matter, and in the end AT&T would have likely dumped him too.  Because they don't understand the product, only profit. 

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3 minutes ago, CinemaInternational said:

Are you referring to TCM backlot?

The Inner Circle is a separate thing.  The Inner Circle was essentially a mailing list that TCM maintained, and periodically (maybe 2-4 times a year), you'd get surveys asking for your opinions on a variety of topics about TCM.   It's being merged into Warner Bros A-list Community. 

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5 minutes ago, CinemaInternational said:

Are you referring to TCM backlot?

No.  A few years back TCM solicited people to join the "TCM Inner Circle," a group whose sole purpose (so far as I could tell) was to complete surveys about TCM every couple of months or so.  Some topics included:  Questions about programming, hosts, if you streamed and if so, what streaming services did you use, etc. etc.  It seems as though every time they had a "concern" (Are we showing enough "diversified" programming? How would you rate the new hosts?) they would push an email survey to members of the "Inner Circle."  Kind of a an easy way to get a focus group together!  Pretty sure they kicked Backlot a couple of months ago but these two programs were not related.

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I'm sorry to see TCM Inner Circle go away for the same reason as other folks -- it was focused on TCM and gave members a chance to weigh in on pending issues that would affect TCM.  (For example, when Eddie Muller's then-nameless noir segment was about to start, they asked Inner Circle about the possible names for it.  "Noir Alley" was born.)

I started to apply for the Warner A-List group because I was curious about what it might entail.  I got to the last step and then quit because out of the membership survey's many, many questions, they never asked about TCM even once (if I remember correctly).  They devoted plenty of survey questions to comic book movies (DC was mentioned specifically) and various streaming services, however.  No thank you.

To move TCM to an all-streaming service would be to destroy much of what makes TCM what it is and what has given the channel a loyal fan base.  How many other channels have a strong enough fan base to have annual film festivals and cruises? 

TCM is a curated presentation of classic movies, hosted by knowledgeable people who give context to what you're about to see, and often features enlightening themes.  There are numerous short subjects, interview segments, and other featurettes that provide additional context and entertainment.  Without all of that, TCM would just be a bunch of old movies that you could watch any old time.  (Not that I'm putting down that kind of choice -- I have a huge collection of movies on discs that I can watch any time I want to, and services like the Criterion Channel serve the same need in part.)

And it's a bit galling that, once again, millions of people would be left behind entirely if TCM went away as a cable/satellite channel.  I don't use streaming services because I can't -- I have no choice.  Some of us -- me included -- have substandard Internet service that's insufficient to support streaming.  And because we live in rural or semi-rural areas, there's no other Internet service available.  The only way I can see TCM is on a satellite video service; our Internet service, which is also satellite-based,  apparently doesn't have the capacity to stream video content effectively.  (When we tried it one time, all we got was constant buffering.)  If you take away TCM as part of our satellite video service -- or you get rid of that whole satellite service -- you lose me as a customer entirely because I can't just move over to streaming.  I hope that doesn't happen because I have no place else to go.  (One possible factor that might keep TCM on our satellite video service is that AT&T owns both.)

Look, I know things change, and I've definitely benefited from technological developments.  There was a time not that long ago when we had no satellite-based video or Internet service.  We had s-l-o-w dial-up  Internet service and could only watch over-the-air local TV channels.  Technology improved things for us, and I'm grateful.  (Indeed, I've spent a long, interesting career in the technology world -- which is kind of ironic, given that we haven't fully benefited from that world.)  But I don't want to be left behind with no TCM because no one is interested in offering us an adequate Internet service -- which I would gladly pay for.

 

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3 hours ago, BingFan said:

I'm sorry to see TCM Inner Circle go away for the same reason as other folks -- it was focused on TCM and gave members a chance to weigh in on pending issues that would affect TCM.  (For example, when Eddie Muller's then-nameless noir segment was about to start, they asked Inner Circle about the possible names for it.  "Noir Alley" was born.)

I started to apply for the Warner A-List group because I was curious about what it might entail.  I got to the last step and then quit because out of the membership survey's many, many questions, they never asked about TCM even once (if I remember correctly).  They devoted plenty of survey questions to comic book movies (DC was mentioned specifically) and various streaming services, however.  No thank you.

To move TCM to an all-streaming service would be to destroy much of what makes TCM what it is and what has given the channel a loyal fan base.  How many other channels have a strong enough fan base to have annual film festivals and cruises? 

TCM is a curated presentation of classic movies, hosted by knowledgeable people who give context to what you're about to see, and often featuring enlightening themes.  There are numerous short subjects, interview segments, and other featurettes that provide additional context and entertainment.  Without all of that, TCM would just be a bunch of old movies that you could watch any old time.  (Not that I'm putting down that kind of choice -- I have a huge collection of movies on discs that I can watch any time I want to, and services like the Criterion Channel serve the same need in part.)

And it's a bit galling that, once again, millions of people would be left behind entirely if TCM went away as a cable/satellite channel.  I don't use streaming services because I can't -- I have no choice.  Some of us -- me included -- have substandard Internet service that's insufficient to support streaming.  And because we live in rural or semi-rural areas, there's no other Internet service available.  The only way I can see TCM (and the source of my inadequate Internet service) is a satellite system, which apparently doesn't have the capacity to stream video content effectively.  (When we tried it one time, all we got was constant buffering.)  If you take away TCM as part of our satellite video service -- or you get rid of that whole satellite service -- you lose me as a customer entirely.  I hope that doesn't happen because I have no place else to go.  (One possible factor that might keep TCM on our satellite service is that AT&T owns both.)

Look, I know things change, and I've definitely benefited from technological developments.  There was a time not that long ago when we had no satellite-based video or Internet service.  We had s-l-o-w dial-up  Internet service and could only watch over-the-air local TV channels.  Technology improved things for us, and I'm grateful.  (Indeed, I've spent a long, interesting career in the technology world -- which is kind of ironic, given that we haven't fully benefited from that world.)  But I don't want to be left behind with no TCM because no one is interested in offering us an adequate Internet service -- which I would gladly pay for.

 

Not to get off topic, but this is an infrastructure issue, much like rural electricity was in the 1930s.  The solution then was the REA, which the federal government created to incentivize investment in rural electrification by providing loans to electric companies.  Without it, there was little desire on the part of electricity providers to string wires to rural areas, as the density was insufficient to justify the investment.   Electricity penetration went from 3% of rural homes in the 1930s to nearly 90% by 1959.

Sounds like a similar plan might be needed for high speed internet, as it has become just as indispensable today as electricity. 

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13 hours ago, txfilmfan said:

Not to get off topic, but this is an infrastructure issue, much like rural electricity was in the 1930s.  The solution then was the REA, which the federal government created to incentivize investment in rural electrification by providing loans to electric companies.  Without it, there was little desire on the part of electricity providers to string wires to rural areas, as the density was insufficient to justify the investment.   Electricity penetration went from 3% of rural homes in the 1930s to nearly 90% by 1959.

Sounds like a similar plan might be needed for high speed internet, as it has become just as indispensable today as electricity. 

You're absolutely right, in my personal opinion.  

High-speed Internet service has become a "utility" that it's difficult to do without, just like electricity or water.  This past year has proven that.  How many kids would have had no school at all during this past year if broadband Internet service weren't available for remote learning?  How many people would have been laid off from their jobs during this past year if Internet-based technology hadn't made it possible to work from home?  Yet there are people out there -- kids and working folks -- who don't have sufficient Internet service for even such basics as school and a job.  There are people who live just a short drive from my house who are in the shadow of mountains that block them from receiving even the so-so satellite-based Internet service that I'm complaining about.  (Yes, those people -- and I -- chose to live where good Internet service wasn't available, but keep in mind that that wasn't an issue at all back when we bought our house.)  And the folks who do have decent Internet service pay much higher prices than people in other countries do for comparable service, studies have shown.  Something needs to be done about it, and I'm glad that there are some people in DC who want to do just that.

The continuing existence of TCM and the possibility of streaming services taking over from cable/satellite are admittedly less serious issues than kids getting an education and people keeping their  jobs.  But TCM is one little piece of the world that makes life a whole lot better for a bunch of us.  It's worth keeping.

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It's definitely not just a rural issue. 

In New York City at the beginning of the lockdown an estimated 100,000 children had no devices or internet access. 

While the City attempted to provide tablets, the ability to connect remains problematic.   Many are in homeless shelters with no or poor connectivity. 

Not being able to attend a school in person was a tragedy for many.

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On 4/7/2021 at 7:29 PM, txfilmfan said:

Not to get off topic, but this is an infrastructure issue, much like rural electricity was in the 1930s.  The solution then was the REA, which the federal government created to incentivize investment in rural electrification by providing loans to electric companies.  Without it, there was little desire on the part of electricity providers to string wires to rural areas, as the density was insufficient to justify the investment.   Electricity penetration went from 3% of rural homes in the 1930s to nearly 90% by 1959.

Sounds like a similar plan might be needed for high speed internet, as it has become just as indispensable today as electricity. 

:unsure:

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Financial insecurity led me to not paying my  cable/Internet '"bundling" bill for the first four months of 2019 (it was my one monthly service I deemed non-essential. I wasn't going to stop paying my electric bill), snd as a result, I had no access to either TCM itself or these message boards during that time. I was in my own Internet-free version of Nomadland.

During this period, I became increasingly aware of my fellow Americans who took advantage of the free Internet offered at the public library. I see now that this is the primary function of America's public libraries. People go there to sign up for 30 minutes of free Internet service at a time. Forget checking out books. You can still do that, but no American goes to the library for that purpose anymore. 

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