Amazon recently announced a major rebranding of its free, ad-supported streaming service IMDb TV. As of April 27, 2022, IMDb TV will become known as Freevee.
This change brings a new name and an expanded content library to better position Amazon in the increasingly competitive ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) streaming space.
What exactly does this rebrand mean for cord-cutters? Here‘s an in-depth look at Freevee‘s offerings, how it works, what‘s changing and why Amazon is making this move.
The AVOD Streaming Market is Exploding
First, some context. The AVOD streaming market has absolutely exploded over the last few years. These free, ad-supported platforms have become a major force in the streaming industry.
According to Digital TV Research, AVOD revenue topped $12 billion in 2021 and will rise to over $21 billion by 2026. The number of households using AVOD services is expected to nearly double from 2021 to 2026, reaching almost 600 million globally.
Major players in this space include Tubi, Pluto TV, The Roku Channel, Amazon‘s IMDb TV and many others. These services offer thousands of movies and shows available to stream for free, with ads supporting the content instead of subscription fees.
The AVOD model has proven wildly successful in appealing to cost-conscious cord-cutters seeking streaming content without yet another monthly bill.
Amazon‘s rebranding of IMDb TV to Freevee signals their intentions to grab an even bigger portion of this thriving market.
Introducing Freevee – What is It?
So what exactly is Freevee, formerly known as IMDb TV?
IMDb TV first launched in January 2019 as an ad-supported streaming extension of Amazon‘s online movie/TV database IMDb. It was available across a wide range of devices including Amazon‘s Fire TV platform.
The service offers a large catalog of popular movies and TV shows from major networks and studios like MGM, Disney, Warner Bros. and more. IMDb TV content can be streamed for free, supported by an average of 3 minutes of ads per hour.
According to Amazon, IMDb TV tripled its monthly active users between 2020 and 2021. The rebrand to Freevee aims to build on this momentum and turn the platform into a top destination for free streaming.
While the name is changing, Freevee will retain the same fundamental model that has made IMDb TV a hit for cord-cutters:
Free access – No subscription or fees required to watch. Entirely ad-supported.
Extensive content – Thousands of popular movies and shows available on-demand.
Fewer ads – Only 3 minutes of ads per hour on average. Half the amount compared to traditional cable TV.
Wide availability – Apps for Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, smartphones, web and most other streaming devices.
The "Freevee" name strongly evokes the idea of "free TV" that has driven the popularity of ad-supported streaming.
Why Did Amazon Rebrand IMDb TV to Freevee?
Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke stated that the goal is to make Freevee the "premier AVOD service with content audiences crave."
The name change helps cement Freevee as its own distinct brand, no longer tied so explicitly to IMDb. Amazon wants to grow Freevee into a top destination for free streaming, not just an extension of their movie database.
Part of this strategy involves major investments in additional content. Reports indicate Amazon plans to triple Freevee‘s original programming in 2022 compared to 2021.
Expanding Freevee‘s content library with more originals and licensed acquisitions will better position Amazon to take on rival AVOD services.
Based on publically released figures, Freevee currently has about two-thirds the number of movies and TV shows available compared to Tubi and Pluto TV. With thousands more titles expected, Freevee aims to level the playing field.
The rebrand also aligns Freevee more closely with Amazon‘s other entertainment properties like Prime Video, Amazon Music and Wondery podcasts.
For consumers, Freevee mirrors the idea of Prime Video but with free, ad-supported movies/TV instead of paid subscriptions. The new name distances the service from just being an offshoot of IMDb.
What‘s Changing with the Launch of Freevee?
Here‘s an overview of what‘s changing under Freevee compared to the former IMDb TV:
Name – The most obvious update is the branding change itself. IMDb TV becomes Freevee across all platforms.
Content expansion – As mentioned above, Freevee plans a 70% increase to its original content plus more licensed acquisitions.
New originals – Upcoming Freevee Originals include Bosch: Legacy, Sprung, Troppo, Proximity and more.
Functionality – No changes to how Freevee works. Still free, ad-supported streaming requiring no subscriptions.
Availability – Remains widely available on Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Android/iOS, game consoles and web browsers.
Aside from the name itself, most changes relate to bulking up Freevee‘s content library to better compete in the AVOD streaming segment.
Freevee Originals and Exclusive Content
A major pillar of the rebrand involves significant investments into new original programming exclusively available on Freevee.
Some highlights of the upcoming Freevee originals include:
Bosch: Legacy – Spinoff series to Amazon‘s hit show Bosch, starring Titus Welliver as Detective Harry Bosch. Follows his new P.I. firm.
Sprung – Comedy about a group of ex-convicts struggling to adjust to normal life after prison. Stars Garret Dillahunt and Phillip Garcia.
Troppo – Neo-noir crime drama set in 1980‘s Australia based on the novel by Candice Fox. Stars Thomas Jane.
Proximity – Sci-fi thriller about a NASA scientist investigating UFO sightings. Ryan Masson and High Dancy lead the cast.
Inside Joke – Comedy competition show hosted by Beth Behrs challenging contestants to pitch funny stand-up sets.
Along with new Originals, Freevee is licensing many popular and exclusive shows unavailable on other free services, such as Dawson‘s Creek, Person of Interest, Stargate Atlantis, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
This influx of new and exclusive free content helps Freevee stand out in the crowded ad-supported streaming market.
How Does Freevee Make Money?
As a free service, how does Freevee actually generate revenue? The answer is advertisements.
When watching Freevee, you‘ll see ad breaks averaging about 3 minutes per hour of content – much less than traditional cable TV.
Amazon sells these ad slots to generate income from Freevee viewers. The advertising revenue is then used to license all of that great movie/TV content available to stream.
This is the same model used by other ad-supported streamers. It allows services to offer free access to tons of shows and movies, while making money by integrating short commercials.
Amazon also benefits on their retail side if Freevee viewers are driven to purchase products featured in ads. The company gains both ad revenue directly plus increased shopping activity driven by the commercials.
How Does Freevee Compare to Other Streaming Services?
In the AVOD space, Freevee competes most directly against other ad-supported platforms including:
Tubi – Offers over 20,000 movies/shows. Acquired by Fox in 2020.
Pluto TV – ViacomCBS owned streamer with hundreds of linear channels.
The Roku Channel – Roku‘s own free streaming option with over 80,000 titles.
Plex – Features free movies/TV plus lots of other media content.
The key advantage Freevee has is Amazon‘s massive resources and IMDb database/brand recognition. While competitors have a content lead for now, expect Freevee to use Amazon‘s budget and reach to close the gap quickly.
Compared to subscription services like Netflix or Hulu, Freevee shines for cost-conscious viewers. You get a deep on-demand library without yet another monthly bill. Of course, the trade-off is sitting through ad breaks.
Freevee also complements another Amazon streamer, Prime Video. Between the two services, Amazon now offers both paid and free options to access tons of great entertainment.
Is Freevee Worth Trying Out?
For cord-cutters seeking free streaming options beyond just YouTube, Freevee absolutely warrants a test drive.
Even with ads, being able to watch hit movies and shows totally free is an undeniable value. The upcoming expansion to Freevee‘s content library makes it even more appealing.
Freevee also works great as a supplemental streaming source along with paid services like Netflix or Hulu. Use Freevee to watch shows/movies those services don‘t offer without spending more.
Amazon clearly has big ambitions for Freevee based on this rebranding and increased investment. Freevee has a chance to become a top destination for ad-supported streaming thanks to Amazon‘s resources.
The service is widely available and easy to use on pretty much any device. If you‘re looking to reduce streaming bills without sacrificing the movies/TV you love, give Freevee a shot.