The free, ad-supported streaming video market is getting extremely competitive.
IMDb Freedive offers a variety of content, spanning film and television, at no cost. There is no IMDb or Amazon Prime subscription required, as the service is supported by advertisements. Viewers simply need to create a free IMDb account to begin watching.
Older movies like The Illusionist, Memento, and The Last Samurai are currently available to watch on the service. Fringe, Heroes, Without a Trace, and The Bachelor make up some of Freedive’s current television offerings. (There are multiple categories on the service, including drama, comedies, horror, action, family, and so on.) The streaming service also boasts of a few IMDb original series’ that take a look at the movie and TV industry.
Video streaming services are extremely hot right now. A recent study found that Netflix alone consists of 15 percent of the entire world’s internet traffic. Netflix competitors such as Amazon’s paid subscription service, Prime Video, and Hulu are also experiencing growth. Disney is about to launch its own streaming service filled with Star Wars and Marvel content.
However, as subscription-based streaming heats up, major players have also been launching free ad-supported streaming services.
Late last year, YouTube rolled out a “Free to watch” section on its Movies & Shows vertical showcasing ad-supported Hollywood films. The vertical was previously reserved for content that needed to be rented or purchased to watch. The company also announced that its own YouTube Original videos, such as its Karate Kid spinoff Cobra Kai, were all going the free to watch, ad-supported model as well this year. That content use to require a paid subscription to YouTube Premium.
Roku, one of the leading set-stop streaming media box companies, also has its own free-to-watch channel, The Roku Channel. Last summer, the company launched a stand-alone website for The Roku Channel, no longer requiring a Roku device in order to watch content on its free streaming video network.
Currently, the only set-top media devices that can stream IMDb’s Freedive are Amazon’s Fire TV products. It will be interesting to see if Amazon eventually opens Freedive up to other set-top boxes like Roku.
Amazon has notoriously made it difficult for Amazon Prime Video subscribers to consume its content on non-Amazon devices. Amazon Prime Video was conspicuously absent from Apple TV’s app offerings until a little more than a year ago. You still can’t stream Prime Video movies and shows to Google Chromecast.
IMDb says they will be make Freedive more widely available, but so far the only platform explicitly named is the IMDb mobile app. Judging by the Prime Video rollout, it's possible that IMDb Freedive remains a Fire TV exclusive — for at least the near future.