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Amazon jumped into the ad-supported video streaming market three years ago with IMDb TV. Later this month, that product will have a new name.
On April 27, IMDb TV will become Amazon Freevee, a name the company said better reflects the free nature of the service.
The ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) space has caught fire in recent years, picking up momentum during the coronavirus pandemic, as consumers streamed more movies and shows. Competitors include Paramount Global’s Pluto TV, Crackle, Tubi and the Roku Channel from Roku.
Amazon is trying to play both sides of the streaming market. Its Prime Video service is available through a monthly subscription of $9 or as part of the $15-a-month full Prime membership. Amazon competes on that end with the likes of Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock, though some of those also have free ad-supported tiers.
Paid subscription services still dominate the streaming space, but ad-supported offerings are gaining ground. In January 2021, approximately 34% of U.S. households that had video streaming capability used ad-supported streaming services, according to Nielsen data.
IMDb, the film and TV site Amazon bought in 1998, launched the free-to-stream service in 2019 under the name IMDb Freedive. Amazon said Wednesday that the product has “seen tremendous growth,” tripling its monthly active users over the past two years.
Amazon hasn’t released an active user metric for IMDb TV, but said in May that it has 120 million monthly active users across all of its ad-supported video content, which includes IMDb TV, Twitch, live sports and other channels.
Amazon expects to grow Freevee’s roster of original TV and movies later this year, the company said.
“We’re looking forward to building on this momentum with an increasing slate of inventive and broadly appealing Originals, and are excited to establish Freevee as the premier AVOD service with content audiences crave,” said Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, in a statement.
Disclosure: Peacock is the streaming service of NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC. Comcast owns NBCUniversal.