Amazon’s IMDb Freedive rebrands to IMDb TV, adds new content and plans European expansion – TechCrunch — techcrunch.com

Amazon-owned free streaming service, IMDb Freedive, is getting a new name, more content and is soon expanding to Europe, the company announced this morning. Originally launched in January, the service will now be known as IMDb TV — a name that’s a bit more catchy, but doesn’t convey the fact that the service includes both movies and TV shows. It’s also not an alternative to live TV streaming services like Sling TV, YouTube TV, or Hulu with Live TV, for example, despite what the name may imply. Instead, IMDb is most similar to something like Vudu’s Movies on Us or Roku’s free streaming hub, The Roku Channel, as it offers a selection of ad-supported free streaming content, too. IMDb hasn’t confirmed how many titles are in its collection, but says the content selection has now been tripled thanks to new deals with Warner Bros., Sony Pictures Entertainment, and MGM Studios. This brings movies like Captain Fantastic and La La Land (July 1) to the service — the latter, marking the first time the Academy Award winner has been made available to an ad-supported streaming service. In addition, IMDb is getting TV shows like Fringe, Kitchen Nightmares, Duck Dynasty, and The Bachelor, plus movies like Drive, Donnie Darko, Monster, Dances with Wolves, and, starting July 1, Sense and Sensibility, Draft Day, and A Knight’s Tale. The newly rebranded service will also arrive in Europe later this year, but no exact launch date is being offered at this time. “With IMDb TV, viewers have discovered TV the way it ought to be – a free collection of premium TV shows and movies available anytime,” said Mark Eamer, Vice President of IMDb TV, in a statement. “We deliver a top quality discovery experience that makes it easy to be entertained. With more titles than ever before coming to IMDb TV and our upcoming European expansion later this year, we’re excited for customers to tune in and enjoy all that IMDb TV has to offer, all at no cost,” he said. Though IMDb operates independently from parent company Amazon, the service benefits from tight integration with Amazon’s line of Fire TV media player devices, which have over 34 million active users. In turn, Amazon Fire TV now has its own built-in free streaming content to rival The Roku Channel which ships on Roku’s media players and Roku OS-powered TVs. Both Amazon and Roku are battling for users and to become the top media player in terms of market share. Amazon announced its 34 million actives for Fire TV in May, which topped Roku’s 29.1 million active “accounts” reported in Q1. Roku tried to explain that this didn’t mean Amazon led because a Roku account could support several household members — but that’s true for Amazon Fire TV “users,” too. “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, Vice President of Fire TV, in a statement. “IMDb TV brings some of the best free content into the living room and we’re excited that our U.S. customers now have access to even more free TV shows and movies through the app and that customers in Europe can soon enjoy this great service on the biggest screen in their home,” he added. IMDb TV is today available in the U.S. as a free channel within the Amazon Prime Video app and on Fire TV in the “Your Apps &  Channels” row. The service can also be launched through an Alexa Voice Remote or a paired Echo device by saying, “Alexa, go to IMDb TV.”      

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