Amazon has turned the lights on for its free ad-supported VOD service, IMDb TV, in the UK.
Starting Wednesday, both Amazon Prime members and non-members will be able to access IMDb TV through the Prime Video app, via the carousel labeled “IMDb TV – Popular Movies and TV - free with ads.”
“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,” said Lauren Anderson and Ryan Pirozzi, co-heads of content and programming, IMDb TV, speaking together in perfect unison for a joint statement. “Today’s UK launch marks a major step in our mission to deliver customers widely appealing content and globally relevant storytelling, through a personalized, free streaming experience.”
For the launch, Amazon is touting the free service's burgeoning originals catalog, specifically calling out non-fiction shows Luke Bryan: My Dirt Road Diary, Moment of Truth and Top Class: The Life and Times of the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers.
Whether UK audiences jibe with documentary shows on an American country music performer, NBA legend Michael Jordan and his father, and life and times of high school basketball stars at a rich Southern California high school, respectively, remains to be seen.
What is notable, however, is the IMDb TV catalog, with Amazon also naming in its press release Wednesday films including Pulp Fiction, Anger Management, The English Patient, as well as TV repeats including Person of Interest, Community, 2 Broke Girls.
Amazon isn't transparent about a lot of things, and that opacity extends to its various streaming catalogs. And as IMDb TV has become an inextricable part of the overall Amazon Prime Video app experience, it's getting harder and harder to determine what's available as an all-you-can-binge-without-ads offering in the Amazon Prime Video library, vs. what's watchable with ads via IMDb TV, and what's monetized via rental or sale via Amazon Prime Video TVOD.
The theory of economic elasticity considered, how much does it hurt Amazon Prime membership to negotiate more AVOD deals than SVOD deals going forward, and sell ads against more of its content rather than let it be binged for no additional revenue in the Prime Video smorgasbord?
We asked that question last month to an Amazon rep and received rather cagey answers.
Not surprisingly, Amazon hasn't released data on how much ad revenue IMDb TV is delivering to it these days. But anecdotally, the figure seems to be growing. A year ago, ad breaks on IMDb TV programs were limited to as few as two a show, and durations often spanned 30 seconds or less.
Last week, we watched the underrated 2018 Sony Pictures thriller Searching, starring John Cho and Debra Messing. Ad breaks of 90 seconds appeared every 10 minutes.
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