Amazon Expands Offerings via Ad-Based Streamer IMDb TV

Amazon is reportedly about to rebrand IMDb TV as a full-on ad-supported streaming television vertical. Launched in 1990 as a film and television credits directory, the Internet Movie Database launched IMDb TV in 2019 offering free access to catalog film and TV shows. Last year, it premiered its first original series, the teen spy show “Alex Rider.” Next week, IMDb TV will debut another original series, “Judy Justice,” featuring Judge Judy Sheindlin in a follow-up to her popular syndicated courtroom reality show, “Judge Judy,” which ended in March. And there are more new shows and content deals in the works.

“Amazon is counting on Judge Sheindlin’s chutzpah to help establish IMDb TV as a bigger player in what has become, surprisingly, one of the hottest areas in media: free, ad-supported video on demand,” writes The New York Times, listing Crackle, Pluto TV, Tubi, Roku Channel, Xumo and Peacock as contenders in the increasingly competitive space.

“Once seen as dowdy cousins to subscription services like Disney+ and Netflix, which do not carry ads, ad-supported platforms soared in popularity during the pandemic as viewers sought out entertainment comfort food,” NYT writes.

The IMDb TV originals pipeline is being fueled with a half-hour drama from Dick Wolf, a spinoff of the popular Amazon Prime Video series “Bosch,” a Martha Plimpton comedy, and a drama adapted from the film “Cruel Intentions.” And under a new Amazon deal with Universal Pictures, “Prime Video and IMDb TV will share streaming rights to some of Universal’s theatrical films,” NYT writes.

Ad-supported streaming services tallied roughly 108 million U.S. viewers in 2020, according to eMarketer. Some projections see that number increasing to 157 million by 2024. Ampere Analysis says U.S. online video advertising will total approximately $82 billion in 2024, growing from $27 billion in 2018.

Last month, Variety reported Amazon launched an ad-supported free IMDb TV service in the UK, programmed with a combination of licensed content like “Pulp Fiction” and “2 Broke Girls,” and originals such as “Luke Bryan: My Dirt Road Diary” and “Moment of Truth,” which are produced by Amazon Studios for IMDb TV U.S.