IMDb is the latest entertainment company to offer free streaming video. Last week, the Amazon-owned IMDb announced the launch of Freedive, its free, ad-supported streaming video on demand channel, available to viewers in the U.S. Freedive takes IMDB beyond its existing content of short-form video, movie trailers and celebrity interviews to include top-rated movies like Awakenings, Donnie Brasco, Single White Female and The Illusionist; TV series including Fringe, The Bachelor, Heroes and Dallas; and IMDb originals including Casting Calls, IMDB at the Emmys and IMDb at San Diego Comic-Con. Though IMDb is owned by Amazon, a Prime membership is not required to watch Freedive.
Freedive, which is pitching itself as a subscription-free streaming service, is now available on PCs, laptops and Amazon Fire TV devices. Viewers with Fire TV devices will see the Freedive icon in the “Your Apps & Channels” row of their dashboard. On Fire TV, users can say, “Alexa, go to Freedive” to access Freedive’s catalog of movies and TV shows. IMDb says Freedive will eventually makes its way to the IMDb mobile app.
“Customers already rely on IMDb to discover movies and TV shows and decide what to watch,” said Col Needham, IMDb CEO and founder, in the January 10 announcement . “With the launch of IMDb Freedive, they can now also watch full-length movies and TV shows on IMDb and all Amazon Fire TV devices for free. We will continue to enhance IMDb Freedive based on customer feedback and will soon make it available more widely, including on IMDb’s leading mobile apps.”
IMDb claims to be the #1 movie website in the world for information about celebrities, movies and TV shows, offering local movie showtimes, critic and user reviews, personalized recommendations, photo galleries, entertainment news, trivia, box-office data and user-created watchlists. Combining viewership numbers from IMDb’s website and mobile app, IMDb reaches more than 250 million unique monthly visitors. To date, the IMDb app has had more than 150 million downloads to iOS and Android devices.
IMDb also offers IMDbPro, a paid membership service for professionals in the entertainment industry, allowing members to connect with more than 300,000 entertainment professionals and companies. Members can also manage their photos and credits, build lists and monitor industry trends. After a 30-day free trial, membership is $149.99 billed annually (offering savings of $89.89 per year), or $19.99 per month if paid month-to-month. In true Amazon fashion, IMDb did not offer viewership or membership statistics for this service.
Ad-supported, free streaming video services are a growing trend in the video on demand world, as you’ll see in the January 18 edition of Five on Friday. IMDb is the latest entertainment company to give the ad-supported business model a whirl. This non-subscription streaming service is a nice complement to Amazon Prime Video, Amazon’s flagship subscription-based streaming video service, giving the company another revenue stream and access to a potentially new audience.
Because the company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amazon, the company already has licensing rights – or at least relationships with the studios who own the rights – making access to existing content a no brainer for IMDb. We expect Amazon to heavily market the service, which will help Freedive get off the ground and surpass its competitors.