IMDb TV: Amazon launches free ad-supported streaming service
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IMDb TV, Amazon’s ad-supported free streaming service, is now available in the UK.
The platform, which first launched in 2091, is the third prong in Amazon’s play to corner the online video marketplace. It provides titles to viewers without having to pay for them, but adds adverts to generate revenue instead, not unlike the Freeview channel Film4. It joins a growing number of ad-supported VOD (AVOD) platforms in the UK, including the recently launched W4free, Rakuten TV’s library of free films, The Roku Channel, an app available on Roku devices, and, of course, YouTube, which uses its ads to both generate income and encourage people to sign up to an ad-free YouTube Premium subscription.
IMDb TV began as an extension of the Amazon-owned IMDb brand, turning it from a searchable resource to a TV and film destination in its own right. In the UK, it launches as part of the Amazon Prime Video app, with a standalone app to come shortly on Fire TV devices. Every month, it aims to add new titles, either originals or titles licensed from third parties, to provide free entertainment across a variety of genres.
At launch, it includes library films from a wide range of distributors, including Paramount, Sony, Universal, Warner Bros, Arrow Films, Icon and Signature. The line-up includes Scream (but none of the other Scream films), Napoleon Dynamite, Life Is Beautiful, The Machinist, Kill Bill: Volume 2, Chinatown, The English Patient, Cloverfield, Anger Management, The Fisher King, Kramer vs Kramer, Lawrence of Arabia, Battle Royale, Field of Dreams, Superbob and Black Dynamite. Other notable titles include Room 237, Spring, Pulp Fiction, The Devil and Daniel Johnston, Meet the Parents, Misconduct, The Skeleton Twins and Scottish Mussel.
On the TV front, there’s Season 1 to 3 of Community, all five seasons of Person of Interest, all of Babylon 5 and all of 2 Broke Girls, as well as Season 1 to 3 of Dawson’s Creek.
There are also a number of IMDb TV Originals, previously only available in the US. They include Luke Bryan: My Dirt Road Diary, which follows multiplatinum country music superstar Luke Bryan, Moment of Truth, which reveals the never-before-seen story behind the murder of NBA legend Michael Jordan’s father, and basketball docuseries Top Class: The Life and Times of the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers. Alex Rider, an IMDb TV Original that has previously been available in the UK with an Amazon Prime subscription, will soon return for Season 2 but as an IMDb TV title in both the US and UK.
“IMDb TV has created a free-to-consumer destination by combining a hybrid of exclusive Originals from Amazon Studios and highly sought-after movies and television,” explains Lauren Anderson and Ryan Pirozzi, co-heads of content and programming, IMDb TV. “Today’s UK launch marks a major step in our mission to deliver customers widely appealing content and globally relevant storytelling, through a personalised, free streaming experience.”
IMDb TV requires an Amazon account to use, but does not require any payment to be made. It does not include everything that would normally be included with an Amazon Prime subscription. It does not include everything that is available to buy or rent through Amazon Prime Video. There are, however, a number of third-party titles on IMDb TV that are also available to buy or rent, or as part of an Amazon Prime subscription, so that viewers can go down one of those paid routes should they want to watch with no adverts. In that way, Amazon’s ad-supported service provides the online giant with another route into living rooms across the country.