Amazon rebrands ad-supported video service, now just IMDb TV
Amazon is rebranding its ad-supported video service, taking the new name IMDb TV instead of IMDb Freedive.
On Monday, Amazon announced the name change to its free video service, which debuted in January, offering a selection of TV shows and movies that play with commercial interruptions. The e-commerce giant is competing with Hulu, YouTube, Roku, Facebook and others for the growing ad-supported video-on-demand market at a time when broadcast TV is losing audiences and more viewers are flocking to premium-tier subscriptions on sites like Netflix and HBO, where there are no ads.
"We think the new brand provides a clearer understanding of the service we offer," an Amazon spokeswoman said in an e-mail statement.
Amazon still has its Prime program, which costs $120 a year and comes with access to the company’s original programs like “The Man in the High Castle,” “Fleabag” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
IMDb TV does not show Amazon’s original shows, but has a selection of Hollywood titles like “Captain Fantastic,” “Seven” and “Jerry Maguire,” along with shows like “Fringe” and “Kitchen Nightmares.”
Amazon also said Monday that it would triple the number of titles in the library. Amazon launched IMDb’s video service just after YouTube came to market with a similar program last year, offering free streams of movies with ad breaks.
Roku is perhaps the most obvious direct competitor to Amazon in over-the-top TV, delivering video to households through the internet and outside traditional cable packages. Roku and Amazon both run ad-supported video channels and sell internet-connected streaming devices, equipped with apps.
Amazon claims 34 million households have Fire TV, its streaming device, meanwhile Roku reaches 29 million households. As a public company, Roku reports quarterly ad revenue, which reached nearly $135 million in the first quarter this year.
“While traditional linear TV ads still make up the bulk of TV ad budgets, TV advertisers are beginning to commit more ad budgets to [over-the-top], and we expect this trend to gain even more momentum and eventually catch up with the shift in viewing behavior towards OTT,” Roku said in its latest public report, detailing the company’s optimism in the free, ad-supported video market.
Over-the-top TV ad spending is expected to grow 20 percent this year in the U.S. to $2.6 billion, according to eMarketer, and traditional TV ad spending is expected to decline by 1 percent to $69.2 billion.
“Our Fire TV customers are always looking for compelling content at a great value. In fact, usage of free, ad-supported apps has increased by over 300 percent in the last year,” said Marc Whitten, VP of Fire TV, in a prepared statement on Monday.
Amazon also announced plans to expand IMDb TV to Europe.