Bye-bye, IMDb TV. The Amazon-backed free ad-supported streaming service will now be called, drum roll please, Freevee. Yes, Freevee.
The rebrand will begin on April 27 and while we’re not sure how this is any different from its 2019 name “Freedive,” the new name does admittedly distinguish itself from the IMDb website. Plus, all those syllables can be tiring to say sometimes.
Senior strategy analyst at Parrot Analytics, Julia Alexander tweeted,
Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios said, “Over the past two years, we have seen tremendous growth for our AVOD [advertising supported video-on-demand] service and are committed to bringing our audiences premium, free-to-consumer content.” While Amazon hasn’t released an active user metric for Freevee, the company reported in May that it has 120 million monthly active users across all of its ad-supported video content, which included former IMDb TV, Twitch, live sports, among other channels.
Freevee has plans to grow its slate by 70% this year, with scripted originals in development such as the longest-running Original series for Prime Video, “Bosch: Legacy,” Greg Garcia comedy “Sprung,” home-design series, “Hollywood Houselift” with Jeff Lewis, the Australian crime drama “Troppo,” and the scripted series “High School,” as well as other unscripted and movies that will be revealed May 2 at its NewFronts presentation.
“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,” Salke added.
The service has already begun expanding into original movies with the greenlight order of “Love Accidentally,” starring Brenda Song and Aaron O’Connell. The workplace rom-com features Alexa (Song) and Jason (O’Connell) competing for a promotion at their advertising firm when each of their partners dumps them. Alexa mistakenly sends Jason a brokenhearted message and they develop an anonymous relationship via text with neither aware of who the other is. The “Love Accidentally” cast also includes Denise Richards and Maxwell Caulfield.
Currently available on the free streaming service, other Originals include “Pretty Hard Cases,” with a second season coming on April 22; “Leverage: Redemption,” “Alex Rider,” “Luke Bryan: My Dirt Road Diary,” “Bug Out,” and more. Additionally, Freevee has “Judy Justice” in its library, which has been picked up for a second season.
Previously, Amazon’s free streaming service announced greenlight orders for “Primo,” the coming-of-age comedy from Michael Schur and Shea Serrano, and “On Call,” the half-hour procedural drama from prolific TV producer Dick Wolf.
Additionally, the service announced an AVOD first by licensing a deal with NBCU securing an exclusive network window for films from Universal Filmed Entertainment Group’s 2020-21 theatrical slate, including titles such as “Dolittle,” “The Invisible Man,” “Promising Young Woman,” “Fast & Furious 9,” as well as rights to a package of animated movies, including “Sing 2.”
“Customers are increasingly shifting to streaming ad-supported premium content, and we have developed Freevee to deliver them highly sought content with half the commercials of traditional TV. Our new name clearly communicates who we are: An easy-to-navigate streaming service, available to users for free, whenever and wherever they choose to watch some of the greatest Original and licensed content available,” said Ashraf Alkarmi, director of Freevee.
Many consumers aren’t that bothered by commercials, and if the streaming service is free, you can bet there will be viewers flocking to it. Whip Media’s TV Time data shows that almost 50% of free streaming users viewed a platform a few times a week and 20% always choose a free ad-supported TV option over other streaming services.
Over the years, IMDb TV/Freevee has outpaced its AVOD rivals, the Roku Channel, Tubi and Pluto TV. In 2021, IMDb TV viewership had grown 138% over the previous year, according to Amazon. The company has also boasted that those who watch the service spend an average of 5.5 hours per week.