IMDB and Amazon shifts into free video streaming with ad-supported Freedive

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 11
Amazon is expanding its video streaming horizons by launching a new service IMDB Freedive, an advertising-supported on-demand service that provides access to movies and TV shows that is separate from its existing subscription and paid Prime Video offering.

Logo for IMDB Freedive


Launched in the United States, IMDB Freedive provides access to a selection of over 130 movies and 29 TV shows at no charge. Rather than paying a subscription or for individual shows or films, users are instead interrupted with commercials while viewing the content.

While short, the initial list of content is varied and consists of relatively well-known programming, including "Heroes," two seasons of "The Bachelor," "Gilligan's Island," and "Kitchen Nightmares," reports Variety. For films, the selection ranges from "The Last Samurai" and "Memento" to "Run Lola Run" and "Foxcatcher."

The service also offers a selection of IMDB short-form originals, including "The IMDB Show" and "Casting Calls," alongside trailers and interviews. More content is also planned to be added in the future.

Taking some cues from Amazon's own Prime Video service, IMDB Freedive taps into the retailer's X-Ray function, providing facts and trivia about a movie or TV show's cast and the current scene when a video is paused. IMDB is a source for the data used in the Prime version of X-Ray, making it a logical inclusion for IMDB's own video service.

The service is initially being made available through the IMDB website, as well as via Fire TV set-top boxes. Mobile app versions, including one for iOS, are also in the works, though it is unclear if it will be made available on the Apple TV at the same time.

Freedive has been rumored for some time, with reports of negotiations with content distributors surfacing in August 2018. It is also an experiment for Amazon, which has previously offered content to Prime subscribers as well as the option to buy videos outright, while free content may also help drive some sales of the Fire TV range for customers who aren't already using Prime.

The addition of IMDB makes the video streaming market even more crowded for Apple, which is currently developing its own roster of original content. The first wave of shows from the iPhone producer is tipped for release in early 2019, but it remains unclear if it will be as part of a streaming service or if it will be provided free to owners of Apple devices alongside other channel subscriptions.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    payecopayeco Posts: 228member
    It’s awesome these movies are unedited unlike the edited, censored versions of movies you normally get with ad support like on TV.
  • Reply 2 of 22
    Damn now Apple's will need to have ad-supported service level too or they will never match Amazon's user-base.
  • Reply 3 of 22
    I had to look up what IMDB means.  Unless it has blockbusters, I probably won’t use it (and I use Amazon Prime Video).  It sounds like this service is for people that watch the ‘old stuff’ that no one would normally pay for.

    So you don’t have to...
    IMDb (Internet Movie Database) is an online database of information related to films, television programs, home videos and video games, and internet streams, including cast, production crew and personnel biographies, plot summaries, trivia, and fan reviews and ratings. An additional fan feature, message boards, was abandoned in February 2017. Originally a fan-operated website, the database is owned and operated by IMDb.com, Inc., a subsidiary of Amazon.
  • Reply 4 of 22
    irelandireland Posts: 17,490member
    Launched in the United States, IMDB Freedive provides access to a selection of over 130 movies and 29 TV shows at no charge. Rather than paying a subscription or for individual shows or films, users are instead interrupted with commercials while viewing the content.
    Yuck.
    aaronsullivanravnorodom
  • Reply 5 of 22
    Damn now Apple's will need to have ad-supported service level too or they will never match Amazon's user-base.
    Battle of the competing business models.
    Rent vs. Buy vs. Bundle vs. Ads

    Ads only works when the content has little value.  If watching 2 hours of content can cost 50c then it can be Ad supported.  I doubt it’s a threat to Apple or enough to change what they’re doing.

    I forgot the Cable model (AKA the double dip): Bundle + Ads
    daven
  • Reply 6 of 22
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,693member
    Apple can have tier TV service.
    Free Adv supported TV + Free Apple created own original contents.
    Paid service like YouTube-TV + Free Apple's original contents.
    Paid Ala-Carte bundle that customer chooses and pay + free Apple's original contents
    Differentiator from other Streaming Services will be Apple's Free original contents.
  • Reply 7 of 22
    I had to look up what IMDB means.  Unless it has blockbusters, I probably won’t use it (and I use Amazon Prime Video).  It sounds like this service is for people that watch the ‘old stuff’ that no one would normally pay for.

    So you don’t have to...
    IMDb (Internet Movie Database) is an online database of information related to films, television programs, home videos and video games, and internet streams, including cast, production crew and personnel biographies, plot summaries, trivia, and fan reviews and ratings. An additional fan feature, message boards, was abandoned in February 2017. Originally a fan-operated website, the database is owned and operated by IMDb.com, Inc., a subsidiary of Amazon.
    IMDB is as ubiquitous and essential as Wikipedia.  It's got to be considered one of the 7 Wonders of the Internet World.  I hadn't realized that Amazon acquired it.
    fastasleep
  • Reply 8 of 22
    Damn now Apple's will need to have ad-supported service level too or they will never match Amazon's user-base.
    Battle of the competing business models.
    Rent vs. Buy vs. Bundle vs. Ads

    Ads only works when the content has little value.  If watching 2 hours of content can cost 50c then it can be Ad supported.  I doubt it’s a threat to Apple or enough to change what they’re doing.

    I forgot the Cable model (AKA the double dip): Bundle + Ads
    I don't know about ads "not working" for high value content.  There are cable channels that people pay extra for that have ads and there are fee-based services that include a pay+ads tier (e.g., Hulu).  Options are good.  It makes sense from a business perspective that companies like Amazon are "flooding the zone" by simultaneously deploying different business models.  I won't even try to predict which will "win" in the end.
  • Reply 9 of 22
    Damn now Apple's will need to have ad-supported service level too or they will never match Amazon's user-base.
    Battle of the competing business models.
    Rent vs. Buy vs. Bundle vs. Ads

    Ads only works when the content has little value.  If watching 2 hours of content can cost 50c then it can be Ad supported.  I doubt it’s a threat to Apple or enough to change what they’re doing.

    I forgot the Cable model (AKA the double dip): Bundle + Ads
    I don't know about ads "not working" for high value content.  There are cable channels that people pay extra for that have ads and there are fee-based services that include a pay+ads tier (e.g., Hulu).  Options are good.  It makes sense from a business perspective that companies like Amazon are "flooding the zone" by simultaneously deploying different business models.  I won't even try to predict which will "win" in the end.
    My point is if a movie is sold on Amazon for $10 it’s not going to show up Ad supported.  Maybe if a movie was rentable for $1...

    Anything else, and they’re depreciating the value of the content.

    The “free” movies on Amazon Prime Video are different.  We have no idea what Amazon pays for them, so no value depreciation.

    I think the Bundling model of Netflix makes more sense.  It’s basically a bunch of junk no one watches + some blockbuster to keep people subscribed.  The original content isn’t terrible either, but it’s low budget.

    FYI:  in the news
    “Hulu's been a breakout success. It also lost $920 million last year”

    Apple’s not stupid enough to go that route.  Amazon might, but only if they make the money back in another way.

    With IMDB Amazon is trying to make a lot of pennies with volume with content that has little value.  Google is kind of doing the same thing, but in reverse (going upscale).
  • Reply 10 of 22
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 195unconfirmed, member
    What a dumb company. Amazon is not gonna be a big competitor soon in video. They're already losing too much to Netflix.

    And IMDB is pretty ubuquitous but not as much as Wikipedia. Still surprised someone didn't know what it was.
  • Reply 11 of 22
    IMDB is as ubiquitous and essential as Wikipedia.  It's got to be considered one of the 7 Wonders of the Internet World.  I hadn't realized that Amazon acquired it.
    Amazon bought it ages ago. Then they started messing it up. First the DVD section of every show or movie was removed. That was my best source for finding out whether DVDs were available for a TV show, or how many different releases of a movie were made on DVD, so I could figure out which one to buy or avoid. Then a few years ago, they dumped their forums, which I used to ask questions about shows or movies, apparently because of Internet trolls and their own refusal to hire moderators. My IMDb use plummeted after that. While I used to visit several times a week or even daily, I now hit the site once a week at most, and often only because Google brought it up.
    davenentropys
  • Reply 12 of 22
    No matter what are your opinions on Amazon, this is smart. They could continue to offer all kinds of free ad supported entertainment and end up as a replacement for basic cable and over the air TV.
    edited January 11
  • Reply 13 of 22
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 195unconfirmed, member
    No matter what are your opinions on Amazon, this is smart. They could continue to offer all kinds of free ad supported entertainment and end up as a replacement for basic cable and over the air TV.
    Not sure how releasing a free platform while owning a paid platform is smart but we'll see how this plays out.

    Seems we're seeing a lot of impulse reactions by streaming companies since the Apple rumors. Everyone is afraid of Apple regardless of what they say.
  • Reply 14 of 22
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,675member
    No matter what are your opinions on Amazon, this is smart. They could continue to offer all kinds of free ad supported entertainment and end up as a replacement for basic cable and over the air TV.
    Not sure how releasing a free platform while owning a paid platform is smart but we'll see how this plays out.

    Seems we're seeing a lot of impulse reactions by streaming companies since the Apple rumors. Everyone is afraid of Apple regardless of what they say.
    Many of the media streaming services, Hulu, Netflix, Spotify, YouTube etc, predate any of the rumors of Apple thinking about moving into the same space, so I don't think it was driven by Apple. If anything it's Apple recognizing they can profit in those same spaces and then making an effort to do so.  

    With that said I DO think that companies are trying to better define their strategies and firm up their partnerships, not only thinking about Apple now but differentiating from each other. It's getting crowded out there and not everyone will be successful. Some companies have more money and resources than others to throw at it...

    IF they think it's going to be profitable to do so. For example IMO Netflix has overspent, but as successful as they've become who am I to judge? 
  • Reply 15 of 22
    davendaven Posts: 476member
    IMDB is as ubiquitous and essential as Wikipedia.  It's got to be considered one of the 7 Wonders of the Internet World.  I hadn't realized that Amazon acquired it.
    Amazon bought it ages ago. Then they started messing it up. First the DVD section of every show or movie was removed. That was my best source for finding out whether DVDs were available for a TV show, or how many different releases of a movie were made on DVD, so I could figure out which one to buy or avoid. Then a few years ago, they dumped their forums, which I used to ask questions about shows or movies, apparently because of Internet trolls and their own refusal to hire moderators. My IMDb use plummeted after that. While I used to visit several times a week or even daily, I now hit the site once a week at most, and often only because Google brought it up.
    I also used to use IMDb as my 'go to' for movie data but you are right. Amazon mucked it up after they bought it and now I hardly use it at all.

    Edit: If it came down to watching a few commercials every 15 minutes or paying $0.99 or $2.99 for a movie, I'll pay the money. One big reason I dropped cable was that I couldn't stomach paying through the nose to watch commercials. I would really like a paid TCM app. Curated movies without commercials.
    edited January 11
  • Reply 16 of 22
    I had to look up what IMDB means.  Unless it has blockbusters, I probably won’t use it (and I use Amazon Prime Video).  It sounds like this service is for people that watch the ‘old stuff’ that no one would normally pay for.

    So you don’t have to...
    IMDb (Internet Movie Database) is an online database of information related to films, television programs, home videos and video games, and internet streams, including cast, production crew and personnel biographies, plot summaries, trivia, and fan reviews and ratings. An additional fan feature, message boards, was abandoned in February 2017. Originally a fan-operated website, the database is owned and operated by IMDb.com, Inc., a subsidiary of Amazon.
    You’re literally the last person to find out about IMDB. 
    payecoravnorodom
  • Reply 17 of 22

    What a dumb company. Amazon is not gonna be a big competitor soon in video. They're already losing too much to Netflix.

    And IMDB is pretty ubuquitous but not as much as Wikipedia. Still surprised someone didn't know what it was.
    LOL yeah they only have over 100 million Prime subscribers. Netflix has 137m but that makes Amazon “dumb”? Okay. 
  • Reply 18 of 22
    payecopayeco Posts: 228member
    I had to look up what IMDB means.  Unless it has blockbusters, I probably won’t use it (and I use Amazon Prime Video).  It sounds like this service is for people that watch the ‘old stuff’ that no one would normally pay for.

    So you don’t have to...
    IMDb (Internet Movie Database) is an online database of information related to films, television programs, home videos and video games, and internet streams, including cast, production crew and personnel biographies, plot summaries, trivia, and fan reviews and ratings. An additional fan feature, message boards, was abandoned in February 2017. Originally a fan-operated website, the database is owned and operated by IMDb.com, Inc., a subsidiary of Amazon.
    It’s almost unfathomable that you somehow haven’t heard of IMDB. It’s seriously the equivalent of never having heard of Wikipedia.
    fastasleepravnorodom
  • Reply 19 of 22
    payecopayeco Posts: 228member
    daven said:
    IMDB is as ubiquitous and essential as Wikipedia.  It's got to be considered one of the 7 Wonders of the Internet World.  I hadn't realized that Amazon acquired it.
    Amazon bought it ages ago. Then they started messing it up. First the DVD section of every show or movie was removed. That was my best source for finding out whether DVDs were available for a TV show, or how many different releases of a movie were made on DVD, so I could figure out which one to buy or avoid. Then a few years ago, they dumped their forums, which I used to ask questions about shows or movies, apparently because of Internet trolls and their own refusal to hire moderators. My IMDb use plummeted after that. While I used to visit several times a week or even daily, I now hit the site once a week at most, and often only because Google brought it up.
    I also used to use IMDb as my 'go to' for movie data but you are right. Amazon mucked it up after they bought it and now I hardly use it at all.

    Edit: If it came down to watching a few commercials every 15 minutes or paying $0.99 or $2.99 for a movie, I'll pay the money. One big reason I dropped cable was that I couldn't stomach paying through the nose to watch commercials. I would really like a paid TCM app. Curated movies without commercials.
    The mucked it up in 1998? Because that’s when Amazon bought it.
    fastasleep
  • Reply 20 of 22
    davendaven Posts: 476member
    payeco said:
    daven said:
    IMDB is as ubiquitous and essential as Wikipedia.  It's got to be considered one of the 7 Wonders of the Internet World.  I hadn't realized that Amazon acquired it.
    Amazon bought it ages ago. Then they started messing it up. First the DVD section of every show or movie was removed. That was my best source for finding out whether DVDs were available for a TV show, or how many different releases of a movie were made on DVD, so I could figure out which one to buy or avoid. Then a few years ago, they dumped their forums, which I used to ask questions about shows or movies, apparently because of Internet trolls and their own refusal to hire moderators. My IMDb use plummeted after that. While I used to visit several times a week or even daily, I now hit the site once a week at most, and often only because Google brought it up.
    I also used to use IMDb as my 'go to' for movie data but you are right. Amazon mucked it up after they bought it and now I hardly use it at all.

    Edit: If it came down to watching a few commercials every 15 minutes or paying $0.99 or $2.99 for a movie, I'll pay the money. One big reason I dropped cable was that I couldn't stomach paying through the nose to watch commercials. I would really like a paid TCM app. Curated movies without commercials.
    The mucked it up in 1998? Because that’s when Amazon bought it.
    I didn't say that Amazon mucked it up on day one. I simply said they mucked it up.
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